cover image Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

Sandra Dutton, Houghton Mifflin, $15 (144p) ISBN 978-0-547-24966-7

Mary Mae’s inquiring mind and keen observational skills get affirmation from her fifth-grade teacher but distress her creationist mother. Refusing to take her pastor’s advice to “trust the Bible scholars,” Mary Mae ends up with more and more questions as she tries to reconcile the Bible’s account of creation with what she’s learning in class about fossils and the age of the earth. Eventually, Mary Mae’s questioning leads her frustrated mother to yank her out of school to provide Bible-based homeschooling. “Why can’t you be my sweet little Mary Mae?” she asks. “It’s all so easy if you just believe what the Bible says and don’t go asking no questions.” Dutton (Dear Miss Perfect) sensitively navigates the sticky debate between creationism and evolution both through the young narrator’s delightful curiosity and honest questions, and through the various responses she receives from numerous caring adults, who all strive to provide truthful guidance. Concluding with a pastor’s affirmation that faithful people can have different opinions, it’s an honest portrayal that respects both viewpoints, as well as those that slot somewhere in between. Ages 8–12. (June)