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Showing posts with label Noah's Ark. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Noah's Ark. Show all posts


Noah's Cats and the Devil's Fire (1992)

Retold by Arielle North Olson

Illustrated by Barry Moser

Typeset in 16 point Trump Medieval

Transparent watercolor painted on paper handmade by Simon Green at The Hayle Mill

Orchard Books

This wonderfully dark retelling of Noah's Ark comes from Romania. What, a dark retelling of Noah's Ark? Surely there can be no such-a thing. But the black cat with the piercing green eyes adorning the cover begs to differ. This is a Barry Moser book. He doesn't take things lightly.

Within these pages, you will find the half-constructed Ark rising from the mud like an ancient castle from an Edgar Allen Poe story. You will find glowing red eyes and dark shapes moving about the ark. You will see the Devil himself, horned and scaly and ready to kill. Even the non-demonic animals appear sinister.

When the animals came aboard, two by two, a pair of fiery eyes peered out from under the lion's mane - the fiery red eyes of the devil who had turned himself into a mouse.

The Devil doesn't seem to be needing any rescuing, but rather wants to come aboard the ark to cause some mischief - Devil-as-trickster. He torments the other animals, ruins the feed, and finally attempts to sink the ark itself.

He takes on the guide of the most hideous rat I've ever seen in a children's book. And what is the natural predator of the rat? A quick glance back at the cover of the book should cue you in.

Did that red-hot demon leave a bit of fire inside her? Ever after, her fur made sparks when Noah petted her - and her eyes gleamed in the dark. And that's the way it is with cats to this very day.


Noah's Ark (2002)

Written and Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Pencil, colored pencils, watercolors

Book design by Jerry Pinkney and Atha Tehon

Chronicle Books

An incredible book by Jerry Pinkney, and gives a fair and beautiful interpretation of the Noah's Ark myth found in Genesis. I'm always dismayed by the saccharine take many writers seem to strive toward, as though the whole ordeal was just a giggle and... oh, look at those cute puppy dogs!

Pinkney lays out the grimness of the scenario with the first line of text: "God was not pleased with the people of the earth." He presents a barren landscape in which black smoke plumes from a distant city.

Noah, however, does not live in the city. He is seen gathering berries with his family out in the woods, when his head cocked, as though receiving a message from an invisible source.

For the next several pages, Noah and his family construct the ark, but it is only when the animals begin to arrive that we get the full force of Pinkney's talent. He captures the chaos of their movement, their body language, their craned necks and their attempts to not be trampled underfoot by their brothers and sisters, in just one painting.

Then: rain.

The water rose over cities and towns. Whales swam down ruined streets. Schools of fish darted through empty windows.

I actually found that to be the most inspired and creative sequence in the book, as large humpbacks navigate over submerged cities. The entire world is now their environment, and they prosper.

Meanwhile, back on the ark, Noah lets fly his raven and his dove. The humpbacks are seen in the distance bounding out of the waters as the dove returns with its olive branch to Noah's outstretched hand.

And God set a rainbow in the heavens as a sign of this promise to Noah and to Noah's family and to every living thing.

Noah is last seen tilling the fields with his oxen, while his sons and their families journey out, each in a different direction, to populate the earth once more.

In the final painting, Pinkney takes a step back and presents the planet earth hovering in space, covered in rainbows and thick clouds.

Seedtime and harvest, cold and heat. Summer and winter, night and day, shall never cease as long as the earth endures.
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