cover image Prayer for the Earth: The Story of Naamah, Noah's Wife

Prayer for the Earth: The Story of Naamah, Noah's Wife

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. Jewish Lights Publishing, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-879045-60-6

The female perspective takes center stage in this elegant picture book that adds nuance and depth to the biblical story of the great flood. Naamah shines in her role as Noah's wife and helpmate as well as an obedient and capable servant of God. Her contributions are given great prominence as she is shown gathering seeds from every plant on the land and tending them in a garden on the ark so that they may eventually be replanted on the newly-cleansed earth. From ""acacia to ziziphus,"" ""amaryllis to zinnia,"" and ""apples to zucchini,"" Naamah cared for every flower, tree, fruit, and vegetable for 40 days and nights and then ""worked without rest"" to place them in the earth's fresh soil. Her love for the earth earned God's blessing: ""I will make you guardian of all living plants, and I will call you Emzerah, Mother of Seed."" Girls especially will cotton to this unusual, though unfailingly reverent, tale. Scratchy brushstrokes give Andersen's oils a strong texture, while her depictions of verdant, blossoming flora effectively evoke a sense of rebirth. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)