Original Paper

Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 229-236

Lying in Children’s Fiction: Morality and the Imagination

“It is true!” cried the lying Nutcracker. “And what is true is not a lie.”
  • Christopher RingroseAffiliated withDepartment of English, University of Northampton Email author 

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The telling of lies is significant in fiction written for children, and is often (though not in all cases) performed by child protagonists. Lying can be examined from at least three perspectives: philosophical, moral and aesthetic. The moral and the aesthetic are the most significant for children’s literature. Morality has been subtly dealt with in Anne Fine’s A Pack of Liars and Nina Bawden’s Humbug. The aesthetic dimension involves consideration of lying’s relation to imagination, fantasy and creativity; Richmal Crompton’s William: the Showman and Geraldine McCaughrean’s A Pack of Lies show this at a complex, metafictional, level.


Children’s fiction Lying Truthfulness Morality Imagination Richmal Crompton Anne Fine Geraldine McCaughrean