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Writing, Illustrating & Publishing => Book Talk => Topic started by: 217mom on April 06, 2019, 04:16 PM

Title: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: 217mom on April 06, 2019, 04:16 PM
You know this very special narration is hard to pull off, but when done well it is mind blowing. I know novels for adults (Atonement, Gone Girl, and more) that use it. I'm looking for examples in kid-lit. Yes, there are YA novels using it (The Thief, Speak, and more) but to my sensibilities YA is not kid-lit.

Any titles you can think of will be appreciated.  :flowers2
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: andracill on April 06, 2019, 04:35 PM
Well, it's not as clear-cut as YA books (or adult books), but I'd say these have hints of it:

 The Lost Prince by Frances Hodgson Burnett (one of my favorites, though perhaps not a deliberate deception),
 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (probably borderline YA, though),
perhaps The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen (though it's not a deliberate deception there)

I suspect it's harder in middle grade because it's harder to 'lose' the trust of the reader without undermining the whole purpose of the middle grade novel?
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: JodyJS on April 07, 2019, 05:11 AM
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen borders on what you're looking for.
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: 217mom on April 07, 2019, 08:20 AM
I will check all these out. I'm excited already!  :thankyou
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: Vijaya on April 07, 2019, 10:19 AM
I really enjoy stories with unreliable narrators...there's just a different vibe. But you're right, I don't see it much in PBs. Is it because children are inherently honest? I remember my very first lie at age 5--I'd made paper airplanes and boats out of my dad's thesis and when he came home he was livid so I said my brother and sister did it and they got a spanking. I got it from them later. This lie wasn't revealed until we were all adults. I couldn't think of any PBs not mentioned, but look what I found: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2013/04/26/the-unreliable-narrator-in-the-picture-book-format/   Other suggestions in the links. And I adore Dear Mrs. LaRue!!! The author has some tips for writing such books. Happy reading and writing!
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: 217mom on April 07, 2019, 10:33 AM
What an amazing resource this link is, Vijaya! {That makes *you* an amazing resource for posting it.}

Of course, in books/movies for older readers, the "unreliability" of the narration/narrator is often because of mental illness. I can see this cannot be used in books for younger readers. So these examples are brilliant.

Vijaya-- blaming your siblings was handy, because you had them. I didn't have any, so I blamed the imaginary Micky Mouse I claimed lived under my bed. I was an unreliable narrator, all right.  :duh
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: annemleone on April 07, 2019, 04:17 PM
I'm thinking older picture books, but The Monster At The End of This Book (starring Grover) and Miss Nelson Is Missing both have unreliable narrators.
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: 217mom on April 07, 2019, 04:59 PM
Indeed. The only one i could think of was Miss Nelson is Missing.  :trenchcoat Now I have more to look at.  :thanx
Title: Re: Looking for MG (and even chapter books or PB) with UNRELIABLE NARRATOR
Post by: william-mockry on May 01, 2019, 03:49 PM
The "Clementine" series by Sara Pennypacker has an unreliable narrator who gives her version of events and it's up to the reader to read between the lines to understand what actually happened. Junie B. Jones does that as well.