Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Naamah and the Ark at Night

Naamah and the Ark at Night. Susan Campbell Bartoletti. Illustrated by Holly Meade. 2011. Candlewick. 32 pages.

As rain falls over the ark at night,
As water swirls in the dark of night,
As thunder crashes the seams of night,
As Noah tosses in dreams of night,
As restless animals prowl at night,
As they pace and roar and growl at night,
Naamah sings all through the night.

Susan Campbell Bartoletti imaginatively and poetically retells the story of Noah's Ark in her newest book, Naamah and the Ark at Night. In this picture book, readers meet Noah's wife, Naamah, whose singing through the night brings comfort and peace to everyone on the ark.

At first, I was puzzled by the repetition--the emphasis on the word night. But after reading the author's note, my curiosity was satisfied. The author is writing in a poetic form called ghazal which dates back to the seventh century. It is a disciplined Arabic form of poetry.

I liked this one. I was able to appreciate it. I've read a handful of Noah's Ark books in the past few years that have annoyed me, that I found too irreverent, too silly, too obnoxious, too whatever. (And it does bother me when Noah is presented WITHOUT his wife or without his wife and children.) This book I found interesting.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2011 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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