Noah and the Great Flood


According to the Bible there once lived a race of giants. The giants were greedy and violent and they turned away from God. Only one man pleased God at this time -- Noah. God chose Noah to tell the giants to change their ways, or e would destroy the world with a great flood. But the giants just sneered, so God instructed Noah to build an ark and collect a male and female of every creature on the earth. Miraculously, the ark helped to build itself, and the animals came on their won -- even some no one knew ...

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According to the Bible there once lived a race of giants. The giants were greedy and violent and they turned away from God. Only one man pleased God at this time -- Noah. God chose Noah to tell the giants to change their ways, or e would destroy the world with a great flood. But the giants just sneered, so God instructed Noah to build an ark and collect a male and female of every creature on the earth. Miraculously, the ark helped to build itself, and the animals came on their won -- even some no one knew existed, such as the og and the rayeem. It rained for forty days and forty nights, drowning the giants and leaving only Noah, his family, and the animals alive. On the day the rain stopped, God gave Noah an important promise in the form of a special sign that would serve as a reminder of their pact until the end of time.

Mordicai Gerstein uses legends that have arisen around the story of Noah to create a richer, more detailed version of this familiar Biblical tale. His intricate oil paintings further enhance the drama of the text, making this a refreshing and valuable telling of an old and cherished story.

A retelling of the Old Testament story of how Noah and his family were saved, along with two of every living creature, when God destroyed the wicked of the world with a devastating flood.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
As he did in Jonah and the Two Great Fish, Gerstein augments a story from the Hebrew Bible with elements from Jewish legend. The legends lend fantastical details to Gerstein's retelling: prismatic light beams out of Noah's eyes at his birth; the ark helps build itself; and "animals no one knew existed" file on board. Surprisingly, these details make the story seem more real, not less, serving to flesh out the bare-bones account from the Bible. Substance is also provided in the illustrations, which depict God in a comprehensible manner; as in Jonah, the sun in the sky is the eye of God-fitting for a God known to appear as a burning flame. Fluffy white clouds or dark storm clouds and lightning surround the eye, creating apt facial expressions. The illustrations also offer concrete evidence of Noah's goodness, through his physical resemblance to the God he worships: spikes of Noah's bright orange hair and his long flowing beard form a sunlike array around his balding head. The true selves of the people who anger God are also revealed in the artwork-Gerstein portrays them as gruesome giants and one-eyed Cyclopses, their outward ugliness a sign of their inner cruelty. Prisoners of their own hatred, they wear black-striped clothing that makes them look like inmates. Refreshingly, Gerstein fails to give his retelling a trendy environmental or moralistic slant, and instead recognizes the real reason for Noah's staying power: it's simply a blockbuster of a story, with a noble hero, evil villains, death at sea, a promise of undying love, and an unsinkable boat of titanic proportions.
Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
This is the best book about Noah's Ark that you will ever buy. Using as his sources midrashim (rabbinical legends) that have been told about the Great Flood, Gerstein has created the ultimate Noah story, from his remarkable birth through his divine selection as God's emissary to a fatally flawed world. Delightful detail is what makes this book special. Did you know, for example, that Noah was born with rainbow eyes foretelling his mission as a "bridge" for mankind? Or, did you know that the ark cooperated with Noah by building itself? Gerstein's fanciful oil paintings show wondrous creatures, previously unseen, who survived the watery calamity with Noah's human family. The urshanas, in particular, look like creatures ready for licensing as stuffed animals. All in all, this is a book that will delight young and old readers with its original and imaginative presentation of a treasured Old Testament tale.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A colorful interpretation of one of the most well-known stories in the Old Testament. The narrative is woven together from the biblical accounts of Noah and legends in the Jewish tradition. Compared to some of the more traditional accounts in which Noah appears as an elderly man, this Noah seems more akin to a force of nature with his sweeping gestures, flowing robes, and flame-red hair and beard. The wicked masses are portrayed as giant blue and green ogres rather than wayward people and the angels figure more prominently than in other versions. However, the most unusual aspect of this retelling is Noah's ultimatum when the rains end, "...we won't come out unless you promise that there will never be another flood like this one...." Beautiful full-color oil paintings enliven the story and varied page layouts provide additional visual interest. Purchase this for collections needing more Jewish folklore or looking for an interpretation with a different twist.-Torrie Hodgson, Burlington Public Library, WA
Kirkus Reviews
The basic story is retold by Gerstein (Victor, p. 1117, etc.), with extraordinary details: Noah was 498 years old when he married and had his sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth; he lived among cruel, greedy, violent giants whom God views with pained regret; for 120 years, Noah tries, at God's request, to change his neighbors' ways, to no avail. With the help from an angel, Noah builds an ark and gathers his fold, including the unknown creatures urshanas, ogs, and rayeems, and so the story is played out. Gerstein's fusion of a variety of sources for the story gives it a richness; although for the picture-book audience, the details will be extraneous, there is no denying their value as curiosities, and as welcome springboards to discussion. (Picture book. 5-10) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689813719
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 2/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.35 (w) x 10.85 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Meet the Author

Mordicai Gerstein
Mordicai Gerstein
Mordicai Gerstein was already a talented children’s book illustrator when he decided to start writing children’s books of his own. Since then, he has released dozens of titles and has won nearly as many awards for his stories of childhood innocence, spiritual exploration, and imagination gone wild. His biographical story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit won the 2004 Caldecott Medal, making The Man Who Walked Between the Towers the most distinguished American picture book for children in 2004.


Mordicai Gerstein has always been an artist. As a child, he enjoyed painting and eventually graduated from art school in Los Angeles. He continued painting in New York City and supported himself and his family for 25 years by designing and directing animated television commercials. He says, "I had always loved cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny, and I found I enjoyed making animated films. Even a 30-second commercial involved drawing and painting, storytelling, not to mention actors, music, and sound effects."

During the 1960s, Gerstein made several films that received critical acclaim. In 1966, The Room won the Award of the Film Clubs of France at the International Festival for Experimental Film, and in 1968, The Magic Ring won a CINE Golden Eagle.

His career took a dramatic turn when he met children's author Elizabeth Levy in 1970. He has illustrated her Something Queer Is Going On chapter books ever since, and it was Levy and her editor who encouraged Gerstein to write a book on his own. His debut came in 1983 with Arnold of the Ducks, the story of a young boy who gets lost in the wild and is raised by ducks. The New York Times hailed Gerstein's freshman effort as one of the year's best children's books, and he went on to write two more volumes exploring the theme of feral childhood. In 1998 he released The Wild Boy, a picture book based on the true story of a young 18th-century French boy who was found living in the woods and was put on display as an oddity, only to escape and be captured again years later. That same year, Gerstein released Victor, a young adult novel about the same boy.

Gerstein tells the story is of a Tibetan woodcutter who is given a choice between reincarnation or heaven in The Mountains of Tibet, which received the distinction of being one of 1987's ten best illustrated books of the year, according to The New York Times. Although the book is written for kids around age seven, Gerstein approaches the subject of death with a bold, sensitive plot and elegant illustrations. Spirituality is a major theme in many of Gerstein's books. He has interpreted tales from the Bible in Jonah and the Two Great Fish (1997), Noah and the Great Flood (1999), and Queen Esther the Morning Star (2001). Other titles such as The Seal Mother (1986), The Story of May (1993), and The Shadow of a Flying Bird (1994) also express Gerstein's reverential awe for the world.

Young readers can also stretch their imaginations with Gerstein's more playful books. Vocabulary is fun in The Absolutely Awful Alphabet (1999), where the letter P is actually a particularly putrid predator! Bedtime Everybody! (1996) has a young girl's stuffed animals planning a bedtime picnic. Behind the Couch (1996) takes readers on an exciting caper into an unknown world of grazing dust balls, Lost Coin Hill and the Valley of the Stuffed Animals. In Stop Those Pants (1998), a boy is forced to play hide-and-seek with his clothes as he gets ready for the day. Gerstein pays tribute to American composer Charles Ives in What Charlie Heard (2002), the story of a boy's unique talent for interpreting all the sounds of daily life.

Another biographical picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2003) tells the story of Philippe Petit, the daredevil who walked across a tightrope suspended between New York City's World Trade Center towers in 1974. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 2004, and parents have praised the book as an invaluable tool for talking to their children about the events of 9/11.

Many of Gerstein's children's books are destined to be classics. His style of writing and illustration brings each of his stories to life, shows a passion for adventure, and relishes the joy that comes from understanding the mysteries of the world.

Good To Know

Despite a successful career illustrating children's books, the first book Gerstein wrote, Arnold of the Ducks, was turned down by seven publishers. Eventually, The New York Times called it one of the best children's books of the year.

Gerstein was inspired to write The Mountains of Tibet after reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northhampton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      Chouinard Institute of Art
    2. Website:

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