Patrol Books ISBN 9780692691939
PRI PS-Grade 3 Rating: 5
Golly’s Folly is the work of two brothers and the wife of one of those brothers. It is an artful take on several biblical themes, coupled with richly colorful and imaginative illustrations.
Golly is the son of King Zhor, and because he envies his father’s glory he asks for his father’s crown. This is the prodigal son demanding his inheritance, the fool who thinks a crown brings glory instead of symbolizing it.
And at first it seems Golly’s Folly will take a standard route “modernizing” Jesus’ parable (though in this case “modern” would refer to some unstated point in the Middle Ages among excessively brawny Vikings). But the story quickly takes an unexpected turn by recourse to a different scriptural theme—that of the vanity of life even among the rich and successful. This is Solomon, the son of a great king who inherits unbelievable treasure, achieves incredible wisdom, and still must conclude that life is vanity under the sun.
Golly discovers that vanity, and humbly (and believably) discovers a solution to it by the end of the book. Instead of laying up his treasures on earth, Golly perceives the all-importance of love.
This reviewer wondered whether “Golly,” “Zhor,” and the name of their steward had any significance—no, the author said in a private conversation, they are simply fun words (and therefore, incidentally, Golly is not a “minced oath”).
The book is made with excellent quality and attention to detail under an imprint—Patrol Books—created by the authors. The illustrations are both contemporary and evocative of a textured, purposefully two-dimensional 1960s style that will interest children visually. It may possibly be read as an anodyne addition to the picture book genre by readers who do not grasp the biblical themes which underlie the story and give it its true depth. It is recommended, therefore, that teachers and parents discuss the story with any kids who happen to hear it.
Mark L. Ward, Jr., CLJ