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Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth
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Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

3.17  ·  Rating Details  ·  84 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
Ten-year-old Mary Mae loves to sing hymns with her Granny, go to Sunday School, and learn about trilobites. She has lots of questions about how the earth looked millions of years ago. Trouble is, Mary Mae’s mother thinks it’s wrong to believe the world is that old. Mama believes God created it six thousand years ago and she believes that nobody should teach Mary Mae otherw ...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published June 28th 2010 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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Kay Cochran
Apr 18, 2015 Kay Cochran rated it liked it
Read this in about an hour: super cute, fast, engaging read.

Do I think it's a young children's book? Kinda'; this book reads like a pre-teen novel in content, terms, and stereotypical behavior. I was drawn into the complex issue as described by the leaflet, but was slightly irritated by the irrationality of the character's involvement and interaction. In closing; I suppose this book didn't act like I wanted it to, however, the plot did resolve itself, and it achieved its base mission.

I will say
Jul 16, 2010 Lauren rated it liked it
Shelves: own
When I first received this one for review I was bit hesitant to pick it up, I have to admit. Though, recently I finally did give it a chance, and let me tell you I'm so glad I did, because Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth is a cute book about standing up for your beliefs no matter what.

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth tells the story of Mary Mae, a curious and sweet girl ten-year-old who has a love of learning, signing church hymns with her grandmother, and attending her Sunday school class with her
Apr 29, 2011 Gwen rated it did not like it
Shelves: children
I didn't really like the way this book presented the two groups. The "evolutionists" (Mary Mae's teacher, principal, mother nature) come across as educated, natural, and inquisitive, while the "creationists" (Mary Mae's mother, Brother Lucas) come across as uncomprimising, and disinterested in education beyond religion. Only Granny and a visiting pastor portray religion as being compatible with education. I was not impressed.
Aug 07, 2010 Laura rated it did not like it
So disappointing. I was hoping for a balanced look at a child who questions her parents beliefs. Unfortunately, all the adults (i.e. the believers) are portrayed as barely literate hillbillies. And, why does the author refer to Eve's breasts as "titties" twice? Totally unneccessary.
Aug 11, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it
I was so excited when I saw the reviews of this book. Someone wrote a novel for kids about science and religion? AWESOME. I know a number of kids who feel tension between what their parents believe and what they learn in school - how great to have a novel where the protagonist is dealing with exactly that issue!

The good news is that Mary Mae competently tackles this problem. Mary Mae is a pleasant, relatable protagonist who is curious about her teacher's world while remaining respectful of her f
Oct 25, 2011 Carol rated it liked it
Mary Mae is ten-years-old and full of questions. The questions make her mother very uncomfortable as they challenge her interpretation of The Holy Bible. Many of her questions stem from her science class and what she is learning about fossils and the dinosaurs. In an attempt to stifle her questions the Pastor suggests that her Sunday School class perform a puppet show about the Creation. Mary Mae is happy to do this although it spawns even more questions for her. Mama is so determined that she s ...more
Sandra Stiles
Dec 30, 2010 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing
This story really resonated with me. Growing up we didn't go to church until I was five years old. Then my mom became a Christian and everything changed. It is difficult to understand where science and the Bible meet. A lot of people say that you can't have both but I believe the Bible backs up science. In the story I felt like Mary Mae when so many people were telling me one thing and my mind was always asking questions. I remember my own son asking our pastor when the dinosaurs were on earth. ...more
May 30, 2011 Andrea rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
I had a hard time sticking to this little book so I would have to think that kids might not like this one. Some positive factors was the author addressing the idea of creation from a science/religion aspect for children. I also liked how the child had a lot of gumption and was very inquisitive. The author did a great job in having a lead character of a child who was clearly trying to formulate her own beliefs. I also thought showing the hard work home school requires for the parent was great. Th ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Kira M for

Mary Mae is a Christian. She's also a lover of the sciences.

When her teacher starts teaching her class about evolution, Mary has a hard time reconciling the Bible's version of creation with science's teaching of evolution. Her mom says that God is right and the Bible is God's word, but there is evidence supporting her teacher's theory.

Can Mary find a way to mesh her love of science with her love of the Bible?

A quick read for people who like Christian fictio
Mar 19, 2011 Tracie rated it it was ok
Mary Mae is an inquisitive young girl. She loves learning and is fascinated by the fossils she finds in her area and the geology she learns as school. Unfortunately she is too inquisitive for the Christian adults in her life including her mother who would rather she not question anything about the Bible or her religion. I found the characters difficult to get to know and the grammar horrifying. I'm from Southeastern Ohio and I've never known anyone who talked like the characters in this story. ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Amber rated it did not like it
Shelves: childrens
Do not even bother to pick this book up off the shelf! I was disgusted by the author's portrayal of those that believe in the creation. The churchgoers are complete simpletons. Mary Mae's mother believes fossils were put in the ground by the Lord to "trick us." Whaaaaa...? And I can't get the scene out of my head where Mary Mae, her mother, and Granny are plastering John 3:16 stickers in bathroom stalls in order to "save souls". This book is ridiculous. While I applaud the attempt to harmonize c ...more
Kate Hastings
May 29, 2016 Kate Hastings rated it it was ok
I was curious to see how an author would address the creation vs. evolution controversy. It takes place in Ohio. The only part of the book I really liked was that it teaches kids it's okay to ask questions. I was a little taken back by the portrayal of Ohioans as hillbillies and uneducated folk (the mother was college educated but still spoke in gramatically incorrect sentences; inconsistent with the mother's view that all children need to learn is spelling and the Bible).

I give the book 2.5 sta
Jul 21, 2010 Becky rated it it was ok
I appreciate that this book deals with the question of creationism and taking the Bible literally vs scientific knowledge/evolution and reading the Bible figuratively. Both sides are respected as Mary Mae begins questioning her mother's very conservative views when her teacher, Ms. Sizemore, teaches a unit on fossils and the history of the Earth. It's the incessant country dialect that constantly distracted me from the characters and themes in the book. I've lived in southern Ohio and have never ...more
Feb 27, 2013 Elizabeth rated it liked it
While a little simplistic, the book does do a good job of not portraying either side of the debate as completely right or wrong. It also does a good job of showing how both ideas can exist instead of having the main character have to believe only one or another. It’s nice to see a story that’s painted in shades of grey and that runs on compromise. At times the story is a little slow, and some of the ideas may be confusing for readers who aren’t at least a little familiar with Christianity. Overa ...more
Jan 05, 2011 M. rated it really liked it
A very nice picture of science vs. creationism as it affects an inquisitive 4th or 5th grade girl. At school Mary Mae is learning about fossils. At Sunday School she's singing and working on her part in a puppet play about Noah, Mrs. Noah, and the ark. Mary Mae's mother believes that learning about fossils is wrong and that any questions about Biblical subjects are also wrong. (Mary Mae has a lot of questions about the animals on the ark.) With the help of Granny, Dad, and the elders of their ch ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Mindy rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sydney Sandstrom
May 13, 2015 Sydney Sandstrom rated it really liked it
A cute book about a young Christian girl and her family. Mary goes to church with her family and participates in activities with her church. She has always been been asking a lot of questions but when she starts asking about the age of the earth and fossils things geet difficult for her.

This is a Christian book that is very fast and easy to read. I would recommend this book to young girls who enjoy a good read, who like science, and who are faithful in God's Word. Never be afraid to asks questi
Kirsten Cappy
Mar 23, 2010 Kirsten Cappy rated it it was amazing
Blessed are the curious for they shall inherit the earth. In Mary Mae's story there is room for God and curiosity all rolled up in one. Although her mother and members of her church might not immediately agree, the rich bed of fossils in Mary Mae's Ohio shows that God or the force of evolution took its merry time making this sweet world of ours.

Sandra Dutton's rich first person dialect makes this all immediate and true. It will be a long time before I forget Mary Mae's voice and when I do, I wil
Diana Jenkins
Jul 24, 2013 Diana Jenkins rated it it was amazing
Ten-year-old Mary Mae is one of the most delightful characters to come along in a good while. She's smart, funny, and spunky! Her inquisitive mind makes her question everything -- even the Bible. Like did God really make the world in only six days? And how did Noah feed all those animals? As she struggles to resolve the conflicts between faith and science, family and school, she makes readers laugh -- and think! Sandra Dutton has written a wonderful, gentle, thoughtful novel that both kids and a ...more
Oct 01, 2010 Reader rated it it was ok
Shelves: bad-reads
A big disappointment here. I was hoping for a smart little examination of biblical interpretations of ancient biological history versus science. What I got instead was a book written in a strange backwoods southern Ohio dialect (the word "titties" appears WAAAY too much, and makes zero sense in context) and not subtleties. Bible thumpers = bad. Oh, and our heroine? In dire straits for quite some time but she never prays in the midst of her troubles. Color me skeptical. - B
Aug 09, 2010 Jen rated it it was ok
I picked this up because I was intrigued by the subject matter. I hadn't really seen the creation/evolution battle discussed much in juvie fiction. Unfortunately, Dutton's use of serious Appalachian dialect (I seem to be stumbling into this a lot lately!) was super distracting, and her ending saw everything abruptly wrapped up all neat and tidy in a way that left me annoyed. I don't think this is one I'll recommend.
Apr 11, 2011 Ashley rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary, 8-12
I liked the idea for this book, but it fell way short of my expectations. The conflict was interesting, but the resolution was so simple that I found it unsatisfying.

The dialect of the characters was distracting from the story, and I think would only get it the way of a child's reading and understanding of this story. I'm not sure who I would ever recommend this for.
Oct 21, 2010 Lisa rated it really liked it
A tenderly told story about 10-year-old Mary Mae's struggle to make sense of her mother's religious beliefs and the exciting new discoveries Mary Mae is making at school about fossils and the earth's history. No judgments are made about peoples' beliefs, they are just compassionately and respectfully portrayed. The simplicity of the telling was eloquent.
May 07, 2012 Denise rated it liked it
Mary Mae has lots of questions and a mother that doesn't want to hear them, at least when they're questions about the Bible that she can't answer. If it's not in there, it doesn't matter or it's not true. Rather simplistic, legalistic view, but I can easily see people being like her. What I can't really see if the ease and swiftness of the resolution.
Kathy Fredrickson
Sep 15, 2010 Kathy Fredrickson rated it liked it
Pleasant enough...ending wraps up a bit too quickly. For the age level using the term "boobies" instead of "titties" might have been a better choice but maybe it is an Ohio thing?!

Mary Mae is a fun new character and I wish the story had been longer--just to read more of her thought process and interactions with others.
Nov 27, 2011 Angie rated it liked it
I was afraid this book might be preachy or religion bashing. It is neither. It is a sweet story of a young girl asking questions and trying to reconcile science with her faith. I think the book does a good job if melding the two. I think the scenarios are realistic and age appropriate.
Childrens Librarian
Dec 08, 2010 Childrens Librarian rated it liked it
Shelves: j-fic
Mary Mae is questioning her mother, and her church's, ignorance and rejection of science. The story is too short to give great depth to the subject, but it does a fine job showing a 4/5th grade reader some of the debate. More importantly, it is about finding one's own voice. -Maeve
Dec 13, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
I think I would have liked the story to be a little longer, and for some of the characters to be a bit more fleshed out. I especially would have liked to understand more of where Mama was coming from. As for Mary Mae and Granny, I absolutely adored them. This was really a great story.
Ms. M
Jan 14, 2011 Ms. M rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Ten-year-old Mary Mae, living with her parents in fossil-rich southern Ohio, tries to reconcile, despite her mother's strong disapproval, her family's Creationist beliefs with the prehistoric fossils she studies in school.
Dec 10, 2010 Nazerei rated it it was amazing
This book is amasing.Its about a ten year old girl named mary mae.She loved to sing hymns with her grandmother.Her mother is a cristion.I think this is good.My favrit part was manly the whole book.
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Sandra Dutton grew up the daughter of Sunday school teachers in Ohio. She was as curious about the book of Genesis as she was about the fossils in her backyard. She says, “I wrote Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth for kids like me who love discovering things, whether in the Bible, the backyard, or a history book. I want them to have the courage to ask questions.”

Sandra Dutton’s books have been named t
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