NOAH'S CATS AND THE DEVIL'S FIRE by Arielle North--Adapt. Olson
Kirkus Star


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In a Romanian version of the biblical story, the devil disguises himself as a mouse and sneaks aboard the Ark after Noah orders him away. Repeatedly, the devil-mouse contrives mischief; but Noah fails to see the dirt after the mouse bathes in his washbowl, only noticing how pleasantly warm the water is; and when it gnaws holes in the grain sacks, he is happy to find that the ducks have already been fed. The devil's worst miscalculation is in enlisting the two real mice to help gnaw through the hull; Noah knows that three is the wrong number and calls his cats, who oust the intruder--thus acquiring sparks in their fur. Olson's vigorous retelling compels attention with its use of concrete, amusing detail. Moser sets the story in a rain-drenched world with many of the full-bleed illustrations painted in black watercolor on a ground of luminous deep blue-green, like the eerie light of a violent summer storm. Other illustrations are dramatic close-ups, their low vantage points and cropped edges pulling the viewer into awesome scenes: the red-eyed mouse peering from the gloom beneath a lion's face; the fuming devil, a gargoyle of fire and dark. Here, Moor, known for his subtle portraits, not only interprets and enriches the story with intriguing detail but propels it with the design's flow from page to page; as for St. Jerome and the Lion (1991), Moser's elegant typography incorporates exquisite calligraphic titles. An outstandingly handsome setting for a winner of a story.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1992
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Orchard