The Lying Carpet by David Lucas - Imagine a disused living room in a grand house. In it is a tiger rug and a statue of a little girl. But is the tiger a real tiger, a fake or a magical carpet? Is the little girl real but bewitched or just a stone statue and will she ever come to life? By turns comical and lugubrious, the tiger gives the little girl plenty of versions of the truth, but how will she decide what is true and will she be able to break free?
A parable about outgrowing your childhood and becoming what you want to be, this is a book for anyone who has ever felt 'stuck' in their circumstances. From Amazon UK
Although I don't read too many children's books, a few people I know raved about how amazing The Lying Carpet is, how it was an early introduction to philosophy, and told me I had to read it, and so on their recommendation, I picked it up and gave it a go - and really enjoyed it!
The story is about Faith, a little girl who one day realises she can't move. The tiger carpet on the floor of the room she's in answers when she starts panicking, and explains that she's a statue, and of course she can't move. The Carpet then regales Faith with differing stories about how she ended up in this room, with the book in her lap, staring out the window, and how he became a carpet. Was he really a real tiger who was hunted? Or was he one of many mass-produced fake tiger carpets? Did he really learn to fly from a Persian rug? Is Faith really under a spell that bewitched her into a statue, or is she just a normal statue? Which is true and which is a lie?
I have to say I'm not one of these clever, analytical readers who can read anything and dig deep and see what's happening below the surface. If it wasn't mentioned to me, I couldn't have told you this book is an early introduction to philosophy, I just don't see things like that when I'm reading. The Lying Carpet as a parable, however, I can see. To me, this book is all about self-belief and hope. The Carpet may lie and tell all sorts of stories, but it's through those stories that Faith learns, and that ultimately bring about her self-belief and her hope - not wish - for more.
The stories - or various "truths" - the carpet tells are full of imagination and humour. I particularly liked the part where the carpet tells Faith about his feet expertise and how he once fell in love with a dancing foot. Every single page is beautiful, whether it be through the wonderful language the story is told with, or the fantastic illustrations - whether they cover the whole page or the little "figures" with their notes to go along with a particular part of the story Carpet is telling. You can see some of these gorgeous illustrations on the page for The Lying Carpet on John Lucas' website.
The Lying Carpet is a sweet and imaginative story, and one I could see many children loving.
Published: 1st March 2012
Publisher: Andersen Press
Buy on Amazon US
David Lucas' Website