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The Golden Rule Hardcover – March 1, 2007

4.7 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 5—A nameless boy and his grandfather discuss the meaning of the Golden Rule, its universality, and ways to practice it. Grandfather points out that many religions and cultures, from Christianity to Hinduism to the Shawnee tribe, have their own variations, and he quotes six examples. The boy wonders what the world would be like if more people practiced the Rule, and Grandfather explains that "It begins with you." The rich, golden paintings and large format reinforce the importance of the topic. The cherubic boy and his old-fashioned grandfather gaze solemnly out of the pages, making eye contact with readers and inviting them into the discussion. Swirling patterns of animal shapes and symbols from various traditions are reminders that the topic is as abstract as the art, with much room for interpretation. This is less a story than a discussion starter, and teachers, parents, and religious leaders will welcome it as a clear introduction to an important subject. While there are more compelling examples throughout children's literature of characters practicing the Golden Rule, from Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little Princess to Chris Raschka's Yo! Yes? (Scholastic, 1993), there are few titles that address the concept so directly.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ilene Cooper has written many acclaimed children’s books, including Jewish Holidays All Year ’Round, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. She is an editor for Booklist and lives in Chicago, Illinois.

Gabi Swiatkowska won the Ezra Jack Keats Best New Illustrator Award from the New York Public Library for her first book. This is her second book. She lives in New York City and travels often.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 490L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081090960X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810909601
  • Product Dimensions: 10.4 x 0.5 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,109 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This picture book successfully breaks a rule of writing: that it is better to "show" than to "tell," for it is a conversation, mainly a telling, the grandfather explaining to the child what the Golden Rule is--seeing it first on a wall, then walking along discussing it. He tells the child that in some religions it's stated in the negative, "Do nothing to other people that you would not like having done to you." The boy wonders how he can practice this rule, and the grandfather gives an example: Suppose, he says, you were the new kid in school, how would you feel? "New kids always look scared," says the boy. He and his grandfather decide that smiling at the new kid is applying the Golden Rule.

The conversation takes place as the boy and his grandfather stroll down the street, then sit on a park bench. So it breaks still another rule: children's books need action. Why it works, I believe, is the solemnity of the lesson. The boy is delighted to be the center of attention, to hear important information, ancient information. A child reader will identify with this moment, when something important is being taught, when the boy wants to respond with the proper gravity. "I wonder how things would change if everyone lived by the Golden Rule," says the grandfather. "I think people would be nicer," says the boy. "Kinder."

The pages are beautifully textured with layers of paint and fascinating detail. Beasts and deities of the world's religions float in the background, as if part of the boy's and the grandfather's imaginations. Portraits of the boy and his grandfather are sensitively done, sometimes bleeding off the page, leaving only one side or the top half of a face, giving the effect of capturing a moment.

This "telling" book with lush illustrations will give children and their parents much to discuss and think about.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was searching for all the books that Gabi Swiatkowska illustrated that were available at our library. This one just resonated with us. I'd like to own ALL her books but this is a great start. My daughter is a precocious 5.5, yet the stories were thought provoking and can be reread and rediscussed for a long time as we all know. I loved that they have tried to interpret all the religion's spin on the "Golden Rule". Especially since American public schools now tend to dilute out all religion, or faith, whereas I'd prefer inclusion of all. The illustrations are once again fantastic and add mystery and interest to all of the interpretations respectfully.
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Format: Hardcover
What a lovely, pensive, ethical book for children. Through the love of a gentle grandfather and a tot (boy), primary readers learn about the golden rule in a multi-cultural way. The two characters are out walking when they see the golden rule, in both its do and do not form, on various signs. The child asks and the adult explains in warm, comprehensible language that this is a rule that promotes civility and morality between people and nations. He explains it is golden because it is so valuable a way of living that your life shines. He encourages the boy to use his imagination to understand; the boy empathetically puts himself in various age appropriate situations, showing concretely that he (and the reader) gets it. The grandfather explains that many religions promote this rule with Judaism being second after Christianity (ouch, the Jewish bible came first and double ouch, the art gives Christianity a half page color spread while Judaism is reduced to two small square sketches of symbols). The child understands this rule is simple, but not easy, to carry out and that it starts with each person. The lesson is delivered without didacticism and with smashingly gorgeous art; the layout is sophisticated and the muted colors mix grey and white drawings with the active color spreads. This book is not Jewish, but it contains a Jewish teaching that is so valuable this stunning volume, its warts to be noted, is recommended for children from 5 to 8 years old. Reviewed by Ellen Cole
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book to teach children to treat others as they themselves should be treated. Not overly religious in my opinion (and I am pretty secular). It resonated with my daughter.
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Format: Hardcover
I ordered this book to help me teach my 6-year-old son about basic, traditionally religious, concepts of morality. I am not at all disappointed. As agnostic/atheist parents who were raised in Christian households, we often struggle with finding the right language to explain morals and values without the "jesus/god said so" that we were taught. This book has given us that language, and then some. The artwork is engaging - I often find my son staring at one page for a very long time, absorbing the detail and beauty of the illustrations. And the story is absolutely breathtaking. We all find ourselves discovering new angles to discuss each time we read it. And isn't that what it's about? Starting the conversation? Thank you to the author and the artist for a fantastic book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The illustrations in this book are simply phenomenal. Almost dreamy and beautiful to look at over and over again. The story is a good moral tale to tell your children. What can anyone find wrong with The Golden Rule? It's of course how we all should aspire to live. That said, I do agree with some of the other reviewers that the inclusion of the various religious rules within the story itself bogs it down and gets a bit repetitive. My kids get the glazed eyed thing going during that part of the story. It would have been enough to leave it at, "Whatever their religion, people find the idea of the Golden Rule in their holy books, Grandfather said."

Now, I'm not saying that the references to religion should have been excluded entirely, merely that the inclusion of them in the authors note at the end of the book would have been sufficient to provide an opportunity to continue the discussion with your children.
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