Best Children's Books About Lying

20 Children's Books About Lying

Updated Jan. 18, 2019
The Gruffalo book
#1
The Gruffalo
Written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .

Groundhog's Dilemma book
#2
Groundhog's Dilemma
Written by Kristen Remenar and illustrated by Matt Faulkner
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

After Groundhog announces six more weeks of winter, half his animal friends are disappointed, while the other half are excited. Each animal asks Groundhog to make his prediction in their favor the following year. Rather than being truthful about the fact that he just “calls it like he sees it,” he leads them to believe he can control the weather, accepting their gifts of food and favor. On the next Groundhog Day, he finally admits he made promises he couldn’t keep because he was trying to please everyone and makes amends. Matt Faulkner’s rich illustrations are packed with hilarious details that will delight readers of all ages. No matter what weather the Groundhog predicts, curling up with this fun book is a great way to spend the winter.

Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart book
#3
Edgar and the Tattle-Tale Heart
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Ron Stucki
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When Edgar, the mischievous toddler, accidentally breaks a statue while roughhousing with his sister, he must decide whether to tell their mother the truth--and Lenore must decide whether or not to tattle.

The Time Warp Wonder book
#4
The Time Warp Wonder
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Detective brothers Frank and Joe work to debunk a time travel machine in the eighth book in the interactive Hardy Boys Clue Book series. Bayport Elementary is almost ready for the annual science fair—it’s all down to the final touches. Frank and Joe have collaborated on a detective helmet. It’s the perfect lie detector—just place it on a suspect’s head and the bells and whistles will tell you when they’re lying. But not everyone is as prepared for the big fair. Their good friend Phil has designed a time machine he calls the Time Warp Wonder. He just needs to figure out how it works first… Phil uses Chet’s hamster as a test subject. And the machine really does make the hamster disappear from the cafeteria! It’s just that Phil isn’t sure where the hamster went or how to get him back. Frank and Joe are not so sure the hamster went back in time. They have a feeling their Clue Book will be more help to Chet’s hamster than Phil’s calculations. But the brothers start questioning their instincts when they receive pictures of the hamster in different time periods; dressed as caveman with the dinosaurs, suited up in armor in the middle ages, in a top hat watching Abe Lincoln give a speech. Could Chet’s hamster really be traveling though time? It’s up to the Hardy Boys—and you—to find out!

Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret book
#5
Anna, Banana, and the Sleepover Secret
Written by Anica Mrose Rissi and illustrated by Cassey Kuo
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 6-10

Anna wrestles with a big secret at Isabel’s super-fun sleepover in the seventh book of this “fast-paced, fun, and funny” (Megan McDonald, bestselling author of the Judy Moody series) illustrated chapter book series about the joys and challenges of elementary school friendships. Anna and her friends love having sleepovers. So, when Isabel invites Anna and Sadie to spend the night at her house for the first time Anna can’t wait! Between pranking Isabel’s older sisters, make-your-own pizzas, and truth or dare this is going to be the best night ever. But when one of Isabel’s older sisters’ dares results in Anna breaking a really special vase, everything stops being all fun and games. Isabel’s sisters convince the girls they can hide it from their parents, but after her friends fall asleep, Anna lies on the floor in her sleeping bag, wide awake. At night, with the lights out and everyone else sleeping, Isabel’s house seems different. Unfamiliar. Not like home. Anna misses Banana terribly, and worst of all she feels really guilty keeping what happened a secret. If Anna doesn’t stay at the sleepover, everyone might get mad at her for ruining it, but if she stays and lets the secret slip about the broken vase, everyone might get mad at her for that instead. Anna and her friends share all their secrets, but can they help her with her secret dilemma?

Truth or Dare book
#6
Truth or Dare
Written and illustrated by Barbara Dee
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-13

A few white lies during a simple game of truth or dare spin out of control and make life very complicated for Lia in this “entertaining bibliotherapy” (Kirkus Reviews) from Barbara Dee. When Lia returns after a summer with her eccentric aunt, it feels like everything has changed within her group of five friends. Everyone just seems more…dramatic. And after playing a game of Truth or Dare, Lia discovers how those divides are growing wider, and tells a few white lies about what really happened over the summer in order to “keep up.” But is “keeping up” with her BFFs really worth it?

The Brave Little Seamstress book
#7
The Brave Little Seamstress
Written by Mary Pope Osborne and illustrated by Giselle Potter
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

"Goodness!" the little seamstress said. "I've killed seven flies with one blow." And to mark the event, she took out her favorite coat and stitched on the back: SEVEN WITH ONE BLOW! Proud of her amazing feat, the brave little seamstress sets off to tell the world. It's not her fault if, along the way, a giant sees her coat and thinks she slayed seven giants, now is it? Based on the classic fairy tale "The Brave Little Tailor," Mary Pope Osborne's spirited retelling -- this time starring a gutsy seamstress -- and Giselle Potter's charming illustrations take you to a magical world where a little heroine meets even the biggest challenges with wit and imagination.

Stu Truly book
#8
Stu Truly
Written by Dan Richards
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Stu Truly is the coming-of-age story of 12-year-old Stu as he struggles to navigate the murky waters of adolescence when he finds himself living a lie-that seems to be growing beyond his control-to impress the new girl in school. When Stuart Cornelius Truly first sets eyes on the new girl, Becca, he staples his finger to his seventh-grade history assignment. The second time he sees her, he coughs up a bite of her lunch-a vegetarian roasted pepper sandwich-all over her sweater, and promptly lies, claiming that he, too, is a vegetarian. Their third encounter goes more smoothly, but Stu's lie turns out to be harder to keep than he expected, especially since his family owns a butcher shop. In this hilarious, heartwarming, contemporary middle grade novel, Stu suddenly begins to realize the opposite sex exists (and isn't so bad, after all!). Can Stu learn to successfully navigate old friends, new crushes, and horror-filled school dances, or will his lie, intended to impress his crush, actually cause his world to fall apart?

The Pudding Problem book
#9
The Pudding Problem
Written and illustrated by Joe Berger
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy must untangle the web of lies he’s created in order to prove his innocence in this humorous and cheeky illustrated middle grade novel that’s perfect for “fans of Timmy Failure and Big Nate” (Kirkus Reviews). Sam Lyttle is prone to stretching the truth. Most of his lies are harmless; tall tales and the product of an overactive imagination. So when Sam is summoned to explain a strange discovery—a ping-pong ball in a jar of peanut butter—and denies involvement, no one believes him. Then more seemingly unrelated peculiarities emerge, and Sam categorically denies any knowledge of those, too. In between these mysterious accusations, and with evidence mounting against him, Sam ruminates on the different sorts of lies he has told using examples from his past. Meanwhile, two pounds of potatoes wind up in the washing machine. Sam comes to a decision: he decides it is time to come clean about this latest tangled web. He gathers his family to hear the truth. The whole truth. Or is it? Could it be that this final “truth” is, in fact, another lie?

The Big Lie book
#10
The Big Lie
Written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Tammy Lyon, Fran Manushkin
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Jake's new toy plane is missing. No one knows where it is, except Katie Woo. But Katie wants to keep the plane. What should she do?

Pinocula book
#11
Pinocula
Written and illustrated by Obert Skye
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-12

What do you get when you cross Pinocchio and Dracula into one bizarre creature? Pinocula, of course! For Rob Burnside, things are going pretty well. His friends are behaving, school isn't too bad, his family's getting along, and Janae, the girl of his dreams, occasionally notices him. Yep, life's okay—until the lying starts. Meet Pinocula, the new creature from Rob's closet. He is a liar and a jokester and is determined to drive Rob crazy. Obert Skye doesn't let his fans down in this hilarious, illustrated installment of the middle grade The Creature from My Closet series, which started with Wonkenstein and Potterwookiee.

Lions & Liars book
#12
Lions & Liars
Written by Kate Beasley and illustrated by Dan Santat
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

Holes meets The Goonies in the highly anticipated second middle-grade novel from the author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness!

Terra Nova book
#13
Terra Nova
Written and illustrated by Shane Arbuthnott
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-13

The city of Terra Nova was founded on a lie: that the spirits who cross over from the spirit world are evil and must be captured for the safety of humanity. But Molly Stout and her family have learned that the spirits are thinking, feeling beings, enslaved to enrich the wealthy, especially the spirit-harvesting company Haviland Industries and its founder, Charles Arkwright. With the help of her family and the aetheric spirits Ariel and Legerdemain, Molly has been fighting to free the spirits. But Terra Nova runs on spiritual machinery, and for each factory they shut down, another takes its place. As Haviland Industries and the authorities of Terra Nova tighten their nets around Molly, she begins to question whether she is really making any difference or if her rebellion puts people and spirits at risk. Terra Nova is the sequel to Dominion.

Hello, Goodbye, and a Very Little Lie book
#14
Hello, Goodbye, and a Very Little Lie
Written by Christianne C. Jones and illustrated by Christine Battuz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-6

Larry lies about practically everything until he meets a girl who outsmarts him.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School... book
#15
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School...
Written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

First, some giant ants steal breakfast. Then there are the evil ninjas, massive ape, mysterious mole people, giant blob, and countless other daunting (and astonishing) detours along the way to school. Are these excuses really why this student is late? Or is there another explanation that is even more outrageous than the rest? From Davide Cali and Benjamin Chaud, the critically acclaimed author/illustrator team behind I Didn't Do My Homework Because . . . comes a fast-paced, actionpacked, laugh-out-loud story about finding the way to school despite the odds—and the unbelievable oddness!

Fakers book
#16
Fakers
Written by H.P. Wood and illustrated by David Clark
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

From the Trojan horse to fake news, scams have run rampant throughout history and across the globe. Some con artists do it for fun, others for profit. . . and every once in a while, a faker saves the world. In this era of daily online hoaxes, it's easy to be caught off-guard. Fakers arms kids with information, introducing them to the funniest, weirdest, and most influential cons and scams in human history. Profiles of con artists will get readers thinking about motivation and consequence, and practical tips will help protect them from falsehoods. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is--except in the case of this book!

I Didn't Do My Homework Because... book
#17
I Didn't Do My Homework Because...
Written by Davide Cali and illustrated by Benjamin Chaud
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

How many excuses are there for not doing homework? Let us count the ways: Giant lizards invaded the neighborhood. Elves hid all the pencils. And then there was that problem with carnivorous plants.... The excuses go on and on, each more absurd than the next and escalating to hilarious heights. Featuring detail-rich illustrations by Benjamin Chaud, this book is guaranteed to amuse kids and their parents, not to mention anyone who has experienced a slacker student moment—and isn't that everyone?

Miss Fox's Class Gets It Wrong book
#18
Miss Fox's Class Gets It Wrong
Written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Anne Kennedy
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Why is Miss Fox being stopped by Officer Blue Fox? And why is she buying a hat and sunglasses? Is she on the run from the law? This picture book teaches children you can't believe everything you hear, educating them on gossip and rumors.

The Rhino in Right Field book
#19
The Rhino in Right Field
Written and illustrated by Stacy DeKeyser
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A boy who loves baseball must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy in this laugh-out-loud middle-grade novel in the tradition of The Sandlot.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Narrated by the Sheepish But Truthful Wolf  book
#20
The Boy Who Cried Wolf, Narrated by the Sheepish But Truthful Wolf
Written by Nancy Loewen and illustrated by Juan M. Moreno
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-8

So who was really pulling the wool over whose eyes? The Wolf gets candid about "the boy who cried" in this fractured version of a classic Aesop's fable, delighting readers with his first-person account, while back matter questions encourage discussion about perspective. Includes a condensed version of the original tale.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.