________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number 38. . . . June 1, 2018


Half the Lies You Tell Are Not True.

Dave Paddon. Illustrated by Duncan Major.
Tors Cove, NL: Running the Goat, 2018.
86 pp., trade pbk., $19.95.
ISBN 978-1-927917-15-2.

Grades 6 and up / Ages 11 and up.

Review by Inderjit Deogun.

***˝ /4


Half the Lies You Tell Are Not True is a ridiculously hilarious collection of 13 recitations by Labrador native Dave Paddon. The recitations, which are written for the purpose of performance, follow the tall tale tradition.

“Where I’m from, out in Dunch Cove,” he said, “the fog gets that thick
There’s no good in going wooding, my son; you wouldn’t get a stick.
You can cut all you want, but the trees won’t come down—
They gets hung up in the fog, and can’t reach the ground.”

     The rhyming couplets illustrate foolishness at its best, from fog thick enough to eat to a bullying polar bear to being accidentally abducted by Capt. Kirk. It’s abundantly clear there’s no topic that Paddon can’t put his signature twist on. Though a character named Jim is featured in a majority of the collection, readers are also introduced to memorable characters like Supernan (yes, nan, as in grandmother) who is sure to become a favourite as will the illustrations of Duncan Major.

     Major’s vignettes add to the amusement of the collection by bringing the quirkiness of each recitation to life. It’s one thing reading about a Boeing jet landing next to a Tim Hortons and quite another to see it.

“Eight dozen honey glazed!” Jim put in his order,
“And one of those nice cakes with hearts round the border.
It’s the wife’s birthday cake and she likes one in yellow.
And a puncheon of coffee, de-caf for the young fellow.”

     Though a glossary is included, newcomers to the tall tale tradition will most likely need to read each recitation more than once to make sense of the collection.

     The local flavour of Half the Lies You Tell Are Not True is perfect for introducing readers to the witty language of another province.

Highly Recommended.

Inderjit Deogun is a freelance editor/writer in Toronto, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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