Lise Lunge-Larsen, , illus. by Matthew Trueman. . Houghton, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-618-32950-2
From the Bible we know Noah as a dutiful servant of God, a father, a farmer and a ship builder. But was he the first person to discover felt? According to Lunge-Larsen's fanciful tale, the answer is yes. With jaunty pacing and a contemporary conversational style, the author characterizes the Ark captain as faithful, hard-working, stressed and not always certain of his path. As Noah follows God's plan to ride out the great flood with the animals in the Ark, he notices something unusual about the coats of the sheep on board. All the jostling and humidity the woolly animals endure on the vessel results in a flat, strong and smooth cloth-like coat, which Noah shears from them. The felt (as we now know it) comes in handy—in the form of winter-wear—when Noah and company finally land on the snow-capped Mount Ararat. The playful liberties Lunge-Larsen takes with a familiar story may not be for everyone. But her inclusion of source notes and suggested additional reading are sure to spark curiosity and exploration. Trueman's stylized mixed-media compositions, often framed with wooden borders, provide a variety of perspectives and create a sense of the Ark's motion and noisy, close quarters. Ages 4-8.
Reviewed on: 07/31/2006