Award winning duo Frané Lessac and Mark Greenwood have created a children’s picture book full of intrigue, imagination and Frané’s unique illustrations.
Beginning and ending with the image of a unhappy man, alone and surrounded by a cloak of fog and mystery, The Greatest Liar tells the tale of what happened to Louis de Rougemont in the intervening time period.
For this all began, or so it would seem, when Louis stepped off the boat and in to the British Museum where he devoured the diaries of explorers and travellers. From here Louis went on to tell his “masterpiece”, a “breathtaking tale of catastrophe and miraculous events” until fame meant he was able to trade his shabby coat for a shiny suit to accompany him on his many stage appearances.
The Greatest Liar evokes the Victorian era of Britain, where authors released their stories in chapter form in much-loved periodicals and where a theatre or music hall was rapidly becoming common place in most towns. Depicting Louis at the height of his fame Frané conveys the oppulance of London theatres – both in terms of their architecture and the occupants – a gorgeous scene full of glowing reds and golds plus many men in suits!
Lessac and Greenwood’s picture book accompanies Louis as he re tells his adventurous experiences to a captive audience – tales of great ocean monsters, turtle gondoliers, wrestling with crocodiles and evil monsters with swords (to name just a few!) are each accompanied by a double page of vibrant illustrations in Lessac’s distinctive, eye catching manner.
At the height of his fame and fortune the newspapers cast doubts over the accuracy of Louis’ accounts, declaring Louis a charlatan … “the author’s reputation was shattered.” Oh the power of the press, for right or wrong, even back then!
And the section to get young minds thinking? A final double page which asks was Louis the greatest liar OR “the most remarkable man of the century” Mark takes many of Louis extraordinary claims – flying fish, monsters of the deep and presents some interesting and compelling factual evidence to be considered …
What do you think? Louis the remarkable or a charlatan???