Wednesday, June 9, 2010


The nameless women aboard Noah’s ark become flesh-and-blood in Timna, a retelling of the flood story written by Lucille Travis. The adventure starts with a quick snapshot of the wicked pre-flood world and then follows Noah’s family from the first drop of rain to the final glorious rainbow in the sky. However, unlike many other narrations, the reader experiences the catastrophic event from the unique perspective of Timna, wife of Shem, one of Noah’s sons.

What I Like: I love the author's fresh approach to the story for a number of reasons. First, through authentic dialogue, the author explores the raw emotions of grief and mourning Noah’s family likely felt when all the earth’s population was wiped out. For example, soon after the storm waters lift the ark, Timna seeks out a quiet spot to hide. Then, “Timna sat weeping and wailing. She tore the scarf from her head and let it fall on the hay next to her. When she could sob no more, she began to whisper the words of mourners, the ones she had heard at funerals all her young life.”

Second, the author realistically portrays not only the hard work and unusual challenges involved with life on the ark, but also the family dynamics. The men care for the animals and the women prepare food. The ark rolls and pitches on the waves, forcing the family to rely on handrails to traverse it. After shared meals, they sing, pray, and worship together. The author even shows how, as day after seemingly endless day passes without a stop to the water, the family struggles with exhaustion, boredom, and despair.

Finally, I like that through the nitty-gritty details of the flood event, the reader sees Noah’s faith in action. This particular aspect of the story gave me a greater appreciation of Noah as a pillar of strength and obedience, no matter the difficulty of the task set before him. The author made Noah and his family feel “real” to me in a way I had never experienced before.

What I Dislike: The author often switched perspective, describing many of the events through the eyes of two dogs aboard the ark. To me, this detracted from the story and gave the otherwise powerful narrative more of a “fantasy” feel. I would have preferred that the author stick solely to Timna’s viewpoint.

Overall Rating: Very Good. However, without the inclusion of the dogs’ viewpoint, I’d be tempted to give it an excellent rating.

Age Appeal: Ages 9-12

Publisher Info: Herald Press, April 2009; ISBN: 978-0-8361-9484-5; Paperback $9.99

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