A wide variety of works from the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection and those of other museums serve as the illustrations in this retelling of the Old Testament tale of Noah and his Ark.
An introductory page explains the significance of the story, describing how it is found in many cultures and is a part of Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions. The serviceable text for this retelling is adapted from the book of Genesis in the King James Version of the Bible. Text blocks are set off on tan, textured backgrounds that suggest parchment and are surrounded by attractive, patterned gold borders. Each spread features a different style of illustration, ranging from tapestries to oil paintings and lithographs to engravings. Concluding pages offer thumbnails of the illustrations with complete information about the artists and current locations of the works, along with interesting comments about the artists’ styles and the eras represented. This wide range of artistic interpretations is a relatively sophisticated approach to retelling Noah’s tale, and the intriguing, high-quality reproductions ranging from the 15th to the 20th centuries are both a visual delight and a minicourse in art history.
Children may need an adult’s help to understand the significance of the illustrations, but this thoughtfully designed book deserves attention and a place on the crowded shelf of Noah’s Ark retellings. (Picture book/religion. 5-9)