Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Enduring Ark

The Enduring Ark, written by Joydeb Chitrakar, is the “Indian version of the biblical tale of the great flood,” as the book’s blurb says. The text follows the biblical story of Noah and the Ark, with some notable exceptions: Noah’s wife is called Na’mah. Her name does not appear in the Bible, but according to Jewish tradition, her name was Naamah. Also, there is no mention of the rest of Noah’s family. And this account does not say anything about the rest of the people on earth who first taunted Noah for making the ark and then begged to be let in after the waters rose up in the flood.

This is one of the most unusual books I have ever read, not because of its contents but because of the way it is put together. It is somewhat like a cross between a board book and a pop-up book, but it’s really neither one. The pages are stiff, like a board book, and they fold out, somewhat like a pop-up book, but nothing actually pops up. Instead, you start reading at the beginning of the book and turn each “page” like you normally would, but when you get halfway through the story, the book appears to end. Then, you have to flip the page over and start reading the backside of all the pages you previously read, which takes you to the end of the book. The whole "page" section of the book will unfold, accordion-style, to create one long section of pages, printed on both front and back. 

The book comes with a slip-on cover that looks like a book jacket, only you must slide the book out in order to read it. The cover holds all the pages together so they don't unfold before you're ready to read them. Quite clever and different!

The illustrations are done in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting. This makes them very vivid and colorful.

What I Like: I really like the layout of the book.

What I Dislike: The author says in the introduction this is just a retelling of an “great tale” so the reader knows from the beginning the author does not treat the Bible as non-fiction or as the Word of God, merely as a book of fiction or "great tales".

Overall Rating: Very good in terms of the layout of the writing and the uniqueness of the book’s design, but not good if you’re looking for a biblical account of the Great Flood.

Age Appeal: 6-12.

Publisher Info: Tara Books, 2013; ISBN; 9789380340180; Hardcover, $21.95.

Special Info: Read more about the book at this website.

No comments: