Children’s Bible Commentary

Here’s an amusing anecdote relayed by Theodore Roosevelt in a letter to Emily Carow in 1900. It’s an adorable look into the mind of a child, perhaps the most astute and convicting hermeneutical tool available in Christianity–adorable, that is, if you can overlook references to the racist archetype:

The other day I listened to a most amusing dialogue at the Bible lesson between Kermit and Ethel. The subject was Joseph, and just before reading it they had been reading Quentin’s book containing the adventures of the Gollywogs. Joseph’s conduct in repeating his dream to his brothers, whom it was certain to irritate, had struck both of the children unfavorably, as conflicting both with the laws of common-sense and with the advice given them by their parents as to the proper method of dealing with their own brothers and sisters. Kermit said: “Well, I think that was very foolish of Joseph.” Ethel chimed in with “So do I, very foolish, and I do not understand how he could have done it.” Then, after a pause, Kermit added thoughtfully by way of explanation: “Well, I guess he was simple, like Jane in the Gollywogs”: and Ethel nodded gravely in confirmation.

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