Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Golden Rule

The Golden Rule

Ilene Cooper
Picture Book
For ages 5 and up
Abrams, 2007   ISBN: 978-0810909601

A boy and his grandfather are walking along a street one day when they see some words printed on a billboard above their heads. The boy asks his grandfather to read the words to him. The grandfather reads "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" and he explains what the words mean. He also tells his grandson that this rule, the "Golden Rule," is for everyone, and that all the world's major religions have a version of the Golden Rule.

When his grandfather has finished speaking, the boy asks him how he, a little boy, can live by the Golden Rule. His grandfather suggests that he should use his "imagination" to put himself in other people's shoes. Only by imagining and being sensitive to how other people feel, can the little boy decide how he should behave. For example, the little boy likes to be listened to when he speaks, so he decides that he should afford other people the same courtesy.

The little boy and his grandfather discuss this Golden Rule further and realize that though the rule is very old, it has not been used as it should, for if it had the world would be a much happier place. Unfortunately, there is no way of making people use the rule. One can only make one person accountable to the rule - oneself.

This stunningly simple and yet very important picture book addresses a subject that everyone needs to think about.  Ilene Cooper reminds us that the Golden Rule is a fundamental principal for cultures and religions all over the world, and yet it is a principal that does not seem to play a part in our lives as often as it should. Beautifully illustrated with images of the boy and his grandfather, and with images from cultures from around the world, this is a book that will touch a very personal place in the hearts of readers of ages.