Jewish Sightseeing HomePage Jewish Sightseeing
2005-10-08-Book Review: Liar of Leipzig 
Harrison Weblog

2005 blog


Book Review: Leopold the Liar of Leipzig

                                                 , October 8, 2005

Leopold, the Liar of Leipzig by Francine Prose, Illustrated by Einav Aviram,  Joanna Cotler Books of HarperCollins Publishers, for ages 4-8, price unlisted.

Reviewed by Donald H. Harrison

Francine Prose, a past winner of the National Jewish Book Award for You Never Know, teamed up with artist Einav Aviram to produce a charming picture story that not only encourages young readers to use their imagination, but shows them one way to do it: utilizing repeating consonants in their story-telling.

The protagonist, Leopold, likes to take a bench at the zoo to tell onlookers stories about fabulous places that exist only in his imagination.  For example, he lectures, “The great galaxy of Gelato is governed by a gabby gorilla named Gertrude.” 

Furthermore, he says, “in the country of Carthaginia cats catch caterpillars and cook them in casseroles in costly cafes.”

Generation after generation of Leipzigers  listen to Leopold’s little stories until one day the doctor professor Morgenfresser comes to lecture, but finds that his true-to-life stories such as “In China people wear robes and eat noodles” fail to fascinate people; in fact, compared to Leopold’s tales, such stories are boring to them.  Morgenfresser has Leopold arrested as a liar.

In the end, however, Leopold is vindicated; his judges recognizing that fictional stories are not lies; they simply are tales from the imagination.

I wonder if Leopold would accept the one I made up about my grandson: "In San Diego, the silly stories of Sandi’s and Shahar’s son, Shor, satisfy super-heroes, scientists and seafarers."