cover image A Stowaway on Noah's Ark

A Stowaway on Noah's Ark

Charles Santore. Random House Books for Young Readers, $16.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-679-88820-8

What if a stowaway secretly upped the head count on Noah's Ark? That's the crux of Santore's (The Wizard of Oz) imaginative retelling of the Bible story. All the familiar elements are here, but seen from the perspective of a mouse named Achbar. Afraid of being left behind in the storm, Achbar boards with the other beasts and hides among them during the arduous journey. The text has an assured and reverent tone, with just enough playfulness to keep youngsters hooked. Noah and his family go unnamed; young readers can take pride in their own mastery of the story. Dramatically depicting the awesome forces of nature and the difficult conditions on ship, Santore's carefully detailed watercolors possess both elegance and power. The massive wooden ark, each slat and plank visible, is a wonder. And children will enjoy counting and naming the various passengers. Ages 5-8. (Dec.)