book cover David Mortimer Baxter: Liar
by Karen Tayleur

Novel | 86 pp | Years 58

Getting Started

Purchase Book
Please visit our new
online bookshop
to place order!


[ Overview | Author profile | Focus questions ]


Readers of Liar! will find out how complicated life can become for someone who continually tells lies. David Mortimer Baxter relates some of the daily troubles caused by his uncontrollable problem telling lies. Often caused by a desire to make life interesting or to be 'one up' on the 'perfect' Rose Thornton, David's lies have consequences at school, at home and in the neighbourhood.

The story unfolds to relate a series of disasters in David's life as he constantly exaggerates, misleads and lies his way out of situations, with each lie leading to further problems. Is Smashin' Smorgan, the famous wrestler, having lunch with the Baxter family? Can a mongrel be passed off as a pedigree dog in the pet show? What is David's role in the school play? Will the school bully believe there is treasure to be found in the neighbour's garden? As each situation gets trickier, David comes up with another lie to get out of trouble.

Liar! is a humorous story that realistically depicts the ordinary happenings in a community through the eyes of David. Primary school readers will have plenty to laugh at and meet some entertaining characters that may seem just a bit like someone they already know.

Author profile

Karen Tayleur grew up in the western suburbs of Melbourne and loved reading, writing stories and making up imaginative games and adventures. Karen now lives with her husband, two children, a dog and two cats in the Dandenong Ranges, east of Melbourne. She has worked in areas such as newspaper advertising, magazine production and as a children's book editor. She thinks that being an author is 'the funnest job of all' (and she likes making up new words).

Liar! is the first of several books in the David Mortimer Baxter series. The other books, including Excuses!, The Truth!, Secrets!, Promises! and Manners!, continue to provide humorous accounts of David, his friends and family as he deals with his problem of 'bending the truth'. Karen Tayleur has also written the All Stars netball series that follows the lives of eight girls in their netball team's first season. Each book follows the story of one of the eight team players.

Based on the information available on Karen Tayleur's website ( compile an author profile using the worksheet provided.

You can also read a review of Liar! on the Aussiereviews website (

Focus questions

Before reading the book

  • In what ways does the design of the cover give the reader clues about the genre of the book?
  • From the examples provided on the cover, what role do you think the rat may play in the story?
  • Why have the publishers presented the blurb in three different sections and in what different ways do these inform the reader about the book?
  • From the information provided, what type of character do you think David Mortimer Baxter will be? What position on lying do you think the author will take?
  • In what ways could 'truth-bending' be considered different from telling lies? Give examples from real life situations to support your answer.

During and after reading the book

  • How many different examples of words and phrases does the author use to describe lying? Make a note of the examples.
  • David's mother states that "Davey just bends the truth sometimes" (p 2). Is bending the truth the same as lying? Use examples from the story to discuss this.
  • How do the rat's comments throughout the book add to your understanding of the text and the events that are occurring?
  • What are the four main events in the book that resulted from David's lies? Why do you think it is considered wrong to tell lies?
  • What good qualities did David demonstrate to compensate for his lying?

© Curriculum Corporation 2006