A fresh take on an enduring tale retells the story of Noah and Na’mah and the great flood.
The book’s innovative accordion design illustrated in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting is just one of the sumptuous design elements that distinguish it as a remarkable offering. A slipcase decorated with the eponymous ark adrift on swirling blue ocean waters covers the hardcover; when it is revealed, it shows pairs of animals, two by two aboard the vessel. The first pages invite readers to open up the spreads side by side so they unfurl into a continuous piece of art, first showing a great eye looking down upon verdant landscape. Omniscient opening narration acknowledges the story’s ancient origins and says, “great tales deserve to be repeated—and so let me tell it here again, in my way.” The familiar tale progresses and refreshingly gives an equal role to Na’mah as she and Noah hear God’s warning, build the ark and gather animal pairs to board it. Once the world floods, the art unfolds in the opposite direction, neatly bisecting the story into ante- and postdiluvian parts. A curious artistic decision shows the people not saved by the ark smiling as they succumb to the flood waters, but all other illustrations, including the culminating vision of the rainbow, are sublime.
A gorgeous re-envisioning of an old, old story. (Picture book/art book. 3 & up)