By Sandra Dutton
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $15.00, 134 pages
Seasoned author, Sandra Dutton, introduces us to Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth, a charming tale of a curious young girl whose strong belief in the Bible conflicts with her teachings at school. Mary Mae’s mother and Sunday School teachers can’t help her understand the different beliefs to aid her in finding the truth regarding the Earth’s actual age. She exasperates adults with her incessant desire to know about fossils and the age-old debate over creation verses evolution. Mary Mae’s mama attempts to homeschool her only to discover she is in over her head. However, Mary Mae cleverly finds a way to convince her mom that she can study fossils and still believe in the Bible.
Dutton defies political correctness in her tale. She delves into several taboo subjects such as ignorance, hierarchy, religion, and even politics, but in a way that is endearing, captivating, and comprehendible. The dialect takes some getting used to, but it adds to the characters as they come alive in their rural Ohioan ways. A delightful and surprisingly educational read.