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THE GOLDEN RULE by Ilene Cooper


by Ilene Cooper & illustrated by Gabi Swiatowska

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: March 1st, 2007
ISBN: 0-8109-0960-X
Publisher: Abrams

Presented as a conversation between grandfather and grandson, this accessible examination of the Golden Rule and its age-old cross-cultural relevance can’t help but wax didactic. The boy, walking with his grandfather, asks what a billboard says. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the elder responds. “It’s golden because it’s so valuable, and a way of living your life that’s so simple, it shines.” As the pair discusses how young and old might live by the rule, which appears in so many religions’ “holy books,” Swiatowska’s full-bleed paintings supply mural-like backdrops. The figures embody an old-world look, with the boy in striped pants, blue jacket and red shoes, and the bearded elder in black suit and hat. The artist incorporates both traditional religious iconography and patterned spreads adorned with birds, flowers and whimsical creatures intentionally disassociated from the text’s specificity. Cooper’s elegant simplification for young children will appeal to adults seeking ecumenical approaches to values education. (author’s note, artist’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)