Posts Tagged ‘Fossils’

Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth Video

Sunday, October 15th, 2017

Mary Mae is played by Jane Ackermann, and the video was made by CuriousCityBooks. (http://visitcuriouscity NULL.wordpress

Praise for Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth
 “You’re going to love getting to know Mary Mae.”
              Zilpha Keatley Snyder, three-time Newbery Honor Winner and author of The Egypt Game
“Dutton sensitively navigates the sticky debate between creationism and evolution. . .”
              Publishers Weekly, Starred
“It is both a lovely coming-of-age story and a lesson in respect between religion and science.”
              School Library Journal
“Very few books for this age group tackle religious subjects as this one does, in a way that shows respect for all sides.”
              Kirkus Reviews
“I could tell the moment I opened the cover of this book that Sandra Dutton was penning a pitch-perfect tale.”
              David Crumm, (http://www NULL.ReadtheSpirit
“A celebration of the wonderful intricacy of the natural world, with acknowledgment of the different ways people can approach that celebration.”
              Project MUSE, Johns Hopkins University
“Delves into several taboo subjects such as ignorance, hierarchy, religion, and even politics, but in a way that is endearing, captivating, and comprehendible.”
              San Francisco Review of Books
 “[Dutton’s] use of the everyday speech of her characters is rich and pitch perfect, and her theme, that no one as an absolute answer to the questions of life, is crafted with the respect than cna only come with love and the love than can only come with respect.”
“shows the importance of fostering a critical mind.”
              ReadSchmead:  Tales of the Book
“With humor and sensitivity, Sandra Dutton explores the idea that faith and science do not have to be kept separate.”
              Through the Looking Glass
“Provocative in the very best way, this is a brave and timely book that leaves you the better for having read it.”
              Planet Esme
” Sandra Dutton has written a gem of a book.”
              Welcome to My Tweendom
“No matter what kinds of truth you adhere to, and just how long you think this old world of ours has been around, you’re going to love getting to know Mary Mae and her granny–the songs they sing, and their courage in facing up to the fact that there is no mention of trilobites in Mama’s Bible.”
              Zilpha Keatley Snyder, three-time Newbery Honor Winner and author of The Egypt Game
“Dutton has tackled a thorny subject–creationism versus evolution–in a way that treats both arguments with respect by channeling the whole controversy through the inquiring mind of the disarming and delightful Mary Mae.  And that’s the gospel truth!”
             Amy MacDonald, author of Little Beaver and the Echo
“Sandra Dutton demonstrates here that the quest to integrate faith with the fossil record can be a most enriching experience, and that it is never too early to allow our children to experience the joy of integrating their religious beliefs with a solid science education. This is a delightful — but also serious — work. It will appeal to parents, pastors and educators. We need more works like this.”
            John F. Haught, Ph. D. Georgetown University, author of Making Sense of Evolution: Darwin, God, and the Drama of Life
“Dutton’s brave book sings out the truth with humor and love.”
            Robin MacCready, winner of the Edgar Award and author of Buried.
Nominated for 2012 Ohioana Book Award (http://www NULL.ohioanabookfestival
Nominated to the  “Amelia Bloomer List,” (http://ameliabloomer NULL.wordpress which highlights “books notable for feminist content, quality of writing, and appeal to young readers.”
Nominated for “Mock Newbery,” Falmouth Library (http://falmouthmemocknewbery NULL.blogspot NULL.html), Falmouth, Maine.

From the Chicago Tribune and Books-for-Kids-Blog

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

Following are some exciting reviews, first from “The Chicago Tribune” and second, from “Books for Kids Blog”:

‘Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth’

By Sandra Dutton

Houghton Mifflin, $15, ages 10-13

The year is 1988, the place southern Ohio, a location rich with fossils. Ten-year-old Mary Mae loves many parts of her world. There’s the Remnant Church of God, where “you can get up and sing and say what you’re thankful for.” Mary Mae’s great-grandmother sings, plays and writes songs. Granny is just visiting, but she is a supportive and kindred spirit to Mary Mae. . . .  (http://www NULL.jpg)

God’s Good Time: Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth by Sandra Dutton

Review by Glenda Children at (http://http://booksforkidsblog NULL.blogspot

When Granny asked me what we learned in school today, I tell her all about trilobites and how southern Ohio was right down by the equator. “We’re digging for fossils tomorrow, too,” I tell her.
God must have loved curious kids, because he made so darned many of them. Mary Mae Krebs can’t help being one. “What do we believe?” she asks her mother, and her mother tells her to read Genesis.

“Wish I could dig for fossils,” says Granny. “But I’m just an old fossil myself.”

“Digging?” says Daddy. “You know when I was in school, we didn’t go out digging. We stayed inside and learned our lessons.”

“Ain’t no different ages,” Mama says. “Tempting kids to believe in something that ain’t so!” Mama goes on. “The world is 6000 years old. You look in the Bible.”

That works for Mary Mae, whose Sunday School class is already practicing for a puppet play about the Creation right from the book of Genesis. She’s in charge of Mrs. Noah, whose job, she is told, is to look after all the animals on the Ark. Practical Mary Mae hits a snag right there. How could one woman, even with those daughters-in-law, clean that many cages? And what about the insects? They’re animals, but the Bible doesn’t say anything about rounding them up and housing them in the Ark in all those little bitty cages. And what about fresh meat for the lions and tigers?

When Mary Mae and her class study the Cincinnati Arch, a band of ancient rock filled with the fossils of the Ordovician sea which once covered the Ohio River basin, her teacher Mrs. Sizemore takes them on a field trip to the school grounds themselves where a construction project has uncovered a treasure trove of trilobites, ancient snails and starfish, and crinoid fossils. Mary Mae is fascinated by the “enrolled” trilobite she finds and as she writes her “Interview with a Trilobite” report, she and her great-grandmother write a song for fiddle and guitar about the little creature. Then Mary May spots hundreds of little fossils embedded in the rocks around her own backyard fish pond, and when she shows them to her mother, Mama’s protests fail to past muster even with Daddy, not to mention Granny.

“She oughtn’t to be learning such things,” says Mama.

“But this is our backyard,” says Daddy. “Can’t go walking around like an ostrich.”

“Them fossils was put in the ground to trick us, Farley.”

“Trick us?” says Daddy. “Who’s trying to trick us?”

“The Lord,” says Mama.

“If that’s what the Lord’s up to, you can go to church yourself. I ain’t going.”

Things come to a head when Mama finds her trilobite report and takes her out of school. Forbidden to read anything but the Bible, Mary Mae goes back to adding up the “begats” in Matthew to see if the generations total up to 6000 years, but she runs into the question of how to count those Bible folks who lived for hundreds and hundreds of years. Mama’s already overloaded, what with her job and distributing fliers for the church and everything else, and she finds Mary Mae’s endless questions about the Bible a trial and tribulation, And then, when Mama drives a young friend home to Indiana, the young woman talks her into stopping to see the famous local site, the Falls of the Ohio, in whose shoals millions of fossils are all around to be seen by visitors, “like the Lord’s science lesson.” Although Mama is gruff with her questions, Mary Mae senses that her mother is beginning to have some doubts about her interpretation of Genesis as well.

Then Mary Mae’s educational luck changes. A chance talk with a visiting pastor shows Mama that there are differences of opinion about the form Creation has taken even among the faithful at the Remnant Church of God.

“I can understand your concern,” Pastor Tilbury says to Mama. “but fossils is God’s creatures, too. The way I see it, they was all fossilized during Noah’s flood in 3500 B.C.”

“Now me, I believe they was fossilized in 90,000 B.C.,” says Mrs. Tilbury.

“I think you’re way off,” Pastor Tilbury says to his wife, “but everybody’s got a right to their opinion.”

With a reassurance from the pastor that fossils were mentioned in the book of Romans, Mama is convinced that it’s time Mary Mae went back to school so Mrs. Sizemore can take over the job of answering at least some of her questions.

In Sandra Duncan’s latest, Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth (http://www (Houghton Mifflin, 2010), her inquisitive and level-headed Mary Mae comes head on against the eternal verities. A member of an evangelistic church which affirms the primacy of the Scriptures, she has a hard time reconciling her mother’s version of creation with what she sees before her eyes, and her natural childlike drive to understand the world puts her into opposition with her mother’s weary assertions that there are some questions that ought not to be asked. Still Mary Mae’s parents and church elders are sincere and loving, and Dutton refuses to portray them as enemies in the ongoing conflict between faith and knowledge. Her use of the everyday speech of her characters is rich and pitch perfect, and her theme, that no one has an absolute answer to the questions of life, is crafted with the respect that can only come with love and the love that can only come with respect. As Publishers Weekly says in its starred review, “Dutton 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.”

“Now tell me about them fossils,” says Granny.

“They’re older than the dinosaurs,” I say…. “Miss Sizemore says the world is fifteen billion years old.”

Granny’s clicking her teeth. “Hmm… Well…My…”

“God takes his time,” I say.

“Yes, he does,” says Granny. (http://http://booksforkidsblog NULL.blogspot

“Lovely Coming of Age Story”

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010

Following is a nice review of “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” by “School Library Journal.”

Gr 5-7–Mary Mae has always accepted the conservative, religious teachings of her family, including a very literal interpretation of the Bible. However, the arrival of her granny and a new teacher cause the 10-year-old to question everything she has ever known. When Miss Sizemore starts to teach the class about fossils, Mary Mae begins asking questions of the adults in her life, and her mother decides it would be better for Mary Mae to be homeschooled. At no point in the story does the child ever question the existence of God; she only sees God doing things in a different way. While her mother chooses to see science as an enemy to her beliefs, Mary Mae sees it as an extension of God’s work. Miss Sizemore opens her up to a new world, where inquisitiveness is not only valued, but is key. Here the relationship with Granny is also crucial to the story; she is always there to listen to Mary Mae and does not discourage her. This simple act of support gives the child the confidence she needs to not give up her quest for knowledge. This is a great story with valuable lessons. Told in an Appalachian dialect, it not only depicts real feelings about religion, but also shows the people behind them as good. It is both a lovely coming-of-age story and a lesson in respect between religion and science.–Kerry Roeder, The Brearley School, New York City

On “Read the Spirit”

Friday, June 18th, 2010

Just wanted my readers to see this wonderful review of “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth” on (http://www NULL.readthespirit NULL.html):

“TODAY, we’ve got a great book for the entire family, especially if your family is related to evangelical Christianity. I can’t imagine a more engaging and compassionate slice of American life than the 129-page “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth”—a novella for young readers by Sandra Dutton. Anytime we recommend books for “young readers,” we’ve selected them deliberately because we know adults will enjoy them as well. (If you don’t have a child at home right now, get this book and give it to a family that does—after . . . ”  [Click here to read the rest of the review: (http://www NULL.readthespirit NULL.html)]

“A Gem of a Book”

Saturday, March 13th, 2010
Just found this review of “Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.”   Here’s the link:
Welcome to my Tweendom: Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth (http://www NULL.facebook NULL.php?u=http%253A%252F%252Ftweendom NULL.blogspot NULL.html&h=a068e32f2e1b0e93e38cdbf5a0d5f372&ref=mf)
Mary Mae likes it at Remnant Church of God. She likes all of the Praise the Lords and the Amens, and the fact that folks can just get on up and tell everybody what it is they’re thankful for. Her pastor, …
It’s also on Jacket Flap (http://www NULL.jacketflap NULL.asp?tagid=125032&tag=arc+6%2F10>).
(http://www NULL.jacketflap NULL.asp?tagid=125032&tag=arc+6/10)

Falls of the Ohio November 2007

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I looked in my files and found these photos of November 2007 when the Ohio River was low.   Compare this to my entry of January 9, 2010, when the river was higher.   Below are the fossil beds you can walk out on.

Ohio River low, revealing fossil beds

Coral (fan shape) and shells

Fossils and Driftwood at Falls of the Ohio

Saturday, January 9th, 2010

Yesterday I went down to the Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana, across from Louisville, Kentucky (They also have a museum–the Falls of the Ohio Interpretive Center)You can see the dam in the distance under the railroad bridge. 

When the river is low, you can walk far out into the riverbed and see fossils from the Devonian Age.  I have some pictures of the fossil bed I took several years ago when the river was low but they’re at home in Maine.  When I get back, I’ll add them to this blog.

Driftwood beside Ohio River, dam and railroad bridge in the background

Soupy Stones

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010


Limestone filled with sea shells and other sea life

At a rest stop yesterday on I-71 South, about 30 miles from Louisville, I happened to see the kind of stones I’d noticed as a kid—the ones that were filled with shells and sea-life (see photo).  They were used to build retaining walls such as this one or as stepping stones across a yard.  They’re the same kind of stones used to build Mary Mae’s fish pond in Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth.  Actually the ones I remember were even more dense with shells.  Maybe I’ll find some on this trip.