It's Hardly Worth Talkin' If You're Going to Tell the Truth


118 pages
ISBN 0-8833-188-6





Reviewed by Joan McGrath

Joan McGrath is a Toronto Board of Education library consultant.


“The first liar never has a chance,” because the next one will have a bigger “plausible impossibility” to top his. This collection of Prairie tall tales, in the tradition of Hailstones and Hoopsnakes, would win a liar’s contest hands down, even the serious variety which bars politicians, preachers and other professionals.

Here are the worst weather, the biggest and wildest game, the doggondest horse trading, that ever kept the gang at the barbershop going each other one better. The language is salty and colourful, the outlook pure Prairie. It would make a cat laugh or even a tourist. Tourists, by the way, are just like starlings. They’re all right individually, but ifyou get a flock of ‘em together you’d better wear a hat and watch where you step.

You won’t be able to top this collection, but you’ll sure stretch tall trying. As the storyteller says, “over the years I’ve told so many yarns, lies, and tall tales, it’s got so now that I believe most of ‘em myself.”


Stone, Ted, “It's Hardly Worth Talkin' If You're Going to Tell the Truth,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 13, 2024,