Noah and the Devil: A Legend of Noah's Ark from Romania

Noah and the Devil: A Legend of Noah's Ark from Romania

by Neil Philip, Isabelle Brent
     
 


In this Romanian folk version of the Noah story, getting the animals to march, two by two, onto the ark is the easy part. It’s Noah’s stubborn wife who insists that she’s staying on dry land. Frustrated, Noah finally declares, “Oh, you devil, come in!” and not only persuades his reluctant wife but also gives the Devil himself the… See more details below

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Overview


In this Romanian folk version of the Noah story, getting the animals to march, two by two, onto the ark is the easy part. It’s Noah’s stubborn wife who insists that she’s staying on dry land. Frustrated, Noah finally declares, “Oh, you devil, come in!” and not only persuades his reluctant wife but also gives the Devil himself the invitation he needed to come aboard.

Master storyteller Neil Philip retells the familiar tale of Noah with numerous witty folktale twists. Filled with adventure and humor, the story is richly illustrated in watercolor with sparkling gold leaf accents. Author’s note.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Illustrated with glorious, gold-drenched watercolors, Philip weaves a number of Romanian pourquoi tales into the biblical story of Noah and the ark. . . .The pages, bordered in jewel-toned folk-art patterns, hold pictures of voluptuos beauty, from naturalistic animal portraits to a sea resembling silk ribbon shot with lumnious fish.
Kirkus Reviews

This book will interest those searching for variants of the familiar Noah story, but even readers unfamiliar with Genesis can enjoy the twists and turns of this account.
School Library Journal

Philip's tone is breezy and direct. . . . Brent's watercolor illustrations depict characters in a folk-art style, making frequent use of further borders and frames to inset the images on the page, and both borders and images are highlighted with gilt lines and shapes that catch the light. Young listeners will enjoy the new twists in this familiar tale.
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"An attractive, unusual offering." Booklist, ALA

Publishers Weekly
Folklorists more than families may gravitate toward Noah and the Devil: A Legend of Noah's Ark from Romania by Neil Philip, with sumptuous panel paintings by Isabelle Brent. A composite of several Romanian legends, it has a cherchez-la-femme premise: Noah's wife ("She really was a stubborn woman") provokes Noah by refusing to board the ark, whereupon he says, "Oh, you devil, come in!" and thereby allows the real Devil to enter. Other twists in the relatively lengthy text includes magical explanations for why cats fear water and why fleas bite. The gold-leaf and watercolor compositions, elegant and detailed, don't match the earthy folk quality of the story. (2001) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Neil Philip's tale, an old Romanian legend, is an offshoot of the Biblical account of Noah's Ark. In this tale, however, Noah not only takes two of every kind of animal but another passenger as well: the devil himself! The devil creeps on board the ark in the form of a mouse and, once inside, tries to sabotage the ark by nibbling away at the planks. Noah catches the devil in the act and ends up tossing him overboard. But the problem of the hole in the ark remains. Noah makes a deal with one of the snakes on board that if the snake will plug up the hole with his tail, then Noah will give him whatever he desires when they reach land. The snake complies and, according to the legend, this is why snakes to this day do not have tails. Once Noah reaches land, the snake asks Noah to provide a human for his daily meal. Not wanting to grant the snake's wish, Noah seizes it and throws it into the fire, where it is burned to ashes. According to the legend, God takes the ashes of the snake and turns each one into a flea. And these fleas suck enough blood from the people of the world to make up one human being a day. Children will likely be drawn to the beautiful and colorful illustrations in the book and the animal pictures. The illustrator employs vivid colors like gold and purple that catch the eye. The book should be easy for most young children to understand; however, the legend itself might be a little too frightening for a young reader, for example, the serpent asking for a human sacrifice from Noah. Overall, however, this book is an interesting take on the original story of Noah's Ark. 2001, Clarion Books,
— Halle Peoples
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-In this version of the familiar story, the Devil seizes the chance to board the ark when Noah impatiently exhorts his wife to hurry by calling, "Oh, you devil, come in!" Determined to sink the ship, the Devil, now in the form of a mouse, gnaws a hole in a plank. A cat catches the mouse, but the two land in the sea and the Devil escapes. As water rushes in, Noah makes a deal with a snake, which cuts off its tail to plug the hole in return for "a human being every day, for me and my children to eat." After the animals disembark, Noah realizes that if he fulfills his part of the bargain, humans will be extinct. So he throws the snake into the fire, and its scattered ashes turn to fleas. Those tiny creatures continue to get their daily quota of blood. Philip provides extensive source notes for various aspects of his tale. Done in watercolor and gold leaf, the art is similar in motif and design to Brent's illuminated Noah's Ark (Little, Brown, 1992; o.p.). Here, she has widened the borders and enlarged the inset paintings on the pages with text. This book will interest those searching for variants of the familiar Noah story, but even readers unfamiliar with Genesis can enjoy the twists and turns of this account.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Illustrated with Brent's ("Celtic Fairytales", not reviewed, etc.) glorious, gold-drenched watercolors, Philip weaves a number of Romanian "pourquoi "tales into the biblical story of Noah and the ark. Gathering the animals two by two, Noah sees his wife hesitating. Indeed, she won't come on board until the water is up to her waist and Noah says angrily, "Oh, you devil, come in!" At that, the devil comes on to the ark in the form of a mouse. The mouse chews through a plank and water begins to leak into the ark, but Noah throws a fur glove at it, which turns into a cat that catches the mouse, and Noah throws them both overboard. The devil-as-mouse escapes and the cat comes back on board to dry itself in the warmest, sunniest spot, a habit that continues to this day. The origin of the flea is also neatly explained. Brent's resplendent ark is in the shape of a red and gold dove. It carries a storied house on its back with arched doors and windows and a patterned tile roof. The pages, bordered in jewel-toned folk-art patterns, hold pictures of voluptuous beauty, from naturalistic animal portraits to a sea resembling silk ribbon shot with luminous fish. Indeed, it is the shimmering art that transforms what is a somewhat less successful text into a worthy addition to the folklore shelves. (author's source note) "(Folktale/picture book. 5-8)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780618117543
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
08/01/2001
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
10.34(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.38(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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