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Not the End of the World


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A compelling story of what happened to all those on Noah's Ark who survived the Flood - as told by one of our greatest children's writers


Gr 9 Up-One can almost hear the groan of shipboards and smell the stench of too many animals in this production of Geraldine McCaughrean's novel (Oxford, 2004). What really happened aboard Noah's ark after it was cast adrift in the Great Flood? McCaughrean's speculative story of Genesis is told mainly by Noah's fictional daughter, Timna, her brothers and their wives, Noah's wife Ama, and the animals themselves. The patchwork of voices translates nicely into a recorded performance. Narrated by Kate Sachs and Glen McCready, the actors do a fine job of tailoring each voice to fit the characters. Trapped for weeks in cramped quarters and filthy living conditions, Timna grows increasingly skeptical of her father's blind obedience to God. Her conscience will not allow her to ignore the cries of drowning women and children while her father and brothers turn a deaf ear. Ultimately, she disobeys Noah by rescuing and hiding two young children inside the ship's hold. At times brutal and frightening, McCraughrean's rich novel contains vivid imagery and thoughtful dialogue. As the decay aboard the ship parallels the breakdown of Noah's family, there are some moments of disturbing violence, including a baby's death. The author's retelling poses provocative questions about loyalty, spirituality, and being true to one's self. Older listeners who are comfortable with a liberal interpretation of Scripture will find the voyage worthwhile.-Celeste Steward, Alameda County Library, Fremont, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

McCaughrean (Stop the Train!) imagines life on Noah's Ark with a full complement of animals, insect infestations and dwindling supplies of fresh food, water and air. She masterfully transforms the famous biblical story through the eyes of Timna, Noah's fictional daughter, and occasionally from the perspectives of her brothers, their wives and her mother, Ama. Just after the flood, Timna, along with her favored younger brother, Japheth, rescues a boy and his baby sister from the surging waters and hides them in the Ark. Their act is in deliberate defiance of Noah and the older sons who believe that it is God's will that such "demons" should perish. Through Timna's perspective, McCaughrean examines the importance of making personal moral decisions. The heroine grows increasingly skeptical of Noah's beliefs as she becomes attached to the stowaways and observes the breakdown of human decency among her family members. Her brother Shem's wife grows increasingly angry and vindictive, while Timna's mother winds up a surprise ally (questioning Noah herself, Ama says to Timna, "one man's head is a very small place to try and fit the whole of God's intentions"). Young readers will identify with Timna's plight and her courage, as McCaughrean invites them to reexamine this age-old tale in her provocative retelling. Ages 14-up. (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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