The Enduring Ark

The Enduring Ark

by Gita Wolf
     
 

"The book’s innovative accordion design illustrated in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting is just one of the sumptuous design elements that distinguish it as a remarkable offering. . . A gorgeous re-envisioning of an old, old story." — Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

"This striking version is illustrated by Joydeb Chitrakar in a Bengali

Overview


"The book’s innovative accordion design illustrated in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting is just one of the sumptuous design elements that distinguish it as a remarkable offering. . . A gorgeous re-envisioning of an old, old story." — Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

"This striking version is illustrated by Joydeb Chitrakar in a Bengali style of scroll painting—with rich colors, strong black lines." — The Wall Street Journal

"The stunning illustrations—which really constitute one continual image—reflect an openhearted, instantly accessible folk art aesthetic . . . a glorious example of storytelling’s universality."— Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"An arresting first image—God’s huge, baleful eye—is the visual source of all that follows. . . provocative" — The Horn Book Magazine

"This beautifully designed and intelligently produced retelling of the flood expands the bounds of bookmaking." — Shelf Awareness

In this Indian version of the Biblical tale, talented Bengali Patua scroll painter Joydeb Chitrakar leads the reader from a deluge of water to a rainbow of hope. A book that can be leafed through in the traditional way or unfolded out as an accordion, the vibrant illustrations and concise text provide a singular approach to an ancient, universal story. Suitable for children ages 6+.

US Grade Level Equivalent: 3, US Guided Reading Level: O

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“You may have heard this story before,” writes Wolf (The Very Hungry Lion) in the opening of this inspired retelling of Noah’s Ark, “but great tales deserve to be repeated—and so let me tell it here again, in my way.” Chitrakar’s (Tsunami) visual approach is based on West Bengal Patua scroll painting, an accordion-style format that allows this epic story to literally unfold for readers. The stunning illustrations—which really constitute one continual image—reflect an openhearted, instantly accessible folk art aesthetic, with flattened perspectives, naïve characterizations, and highly stylized depictions of nature. There is much to love: the traditional Indian garb of Noah and his wife Na’mah; the comic earnestness of the animals; the ark itself, with its templelike architecture and implacable bird figureheads at bow and stern; and even the destructive floodwaters, depicted as roiling lines of deep blue, black, and silvery white, which spring from the eyes of a saddened deity. Chitrakar and Wolf, who writes with customary elegance, have created an essential addition to any library, and a glorious example of storytelling’s universality. Ages 6–up. (May)
From the Publisher

"The book’s innovative accordion design illustrated in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting is just one of the sumptuous design elements that distinguish it as a remarkable offering. . . A gorgeous re-envisioning of an old, old story." — Kirkus Reviews Starred Review

"This striking version is illustrated by Joydeb Chitrakar in a Bengali style of scroll painting—with rich colors, strong black lines, and appealingly primitive renderings of people and creatures. The pages are connected, accordion-style, so that a child can turn the pages, as in a regular book, or pull the whole thing out flat to see the story of Noah's ark unfurling" — The Wall Street Journal

"The stunning illustrations—which really constitute one continual image—reflect an openhearted, instantly accessible folk art aesthetic . . . a glorious example of storytelling’s universality." — Publishers Weekly Starred Review

"This beautifully designed and intelligently produced retelling of the flood expands the bounds of bookmaking." — Shelf Awareness

"It is said from time to time, the world is remade. Ancient stories talk of an age when a huge flood destroyed the earth, leaving nothing behind . . . You may have heard it before, but great tales must be retold — and so I will tell it now in my way, as I have heard it said." — from the book

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
In this Indian version of the story of Noah and the Ark, God chooses Noah and his wife Na'mah to carry out his plan. They must build a strong ark and then find a male and female of every sort of animal. After the flood, these creatures will start new life on earth. When they are herded onto the ark, the first part of the book ends. Accordion folds open all the way, with pages of illustrated text alternating with full-page illustrations in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting. On the reverse side of the scroll/folded pages, the story finishes in the same style of text and illustration. At the end, the creatures are set free as they see God's thanks: a rainbow symbol of hope. A cardboard case for the book introduces a cutaway version of the ark and some subdivisions with passengers, all afloat on an undulating sea. The vision gets more exotic when the book is slipped from the case. Those subdivisions are larger and the inhabitants more clearly defined. There is no title page. The first opening startles with a page-size eye; the blue sea flows from the lower lid. Then each page flows into the next, physically joined to it, making for continuity rather than individual anecdotes. Although the story is the same, the illustrations offer a different emotional tone. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1 Up—Although dubbed an "Indian version of the Biblical tale," Wolf's narrative differs little from many available picture books about Noah. Disappointed by greedy, violent people, God vows to wipe out creation and start again. Noah and his wife build an ark, gather animals, and survive the flood that destroys every other living thing. Forty days later, they land on a mountain. After a dove returns with an olive branch, everyone disembarks. God thanks the weary humans by creating a rainbow as a sign of hope. The Indian elements of this version are the format and illustrations. Chitrakar employs a Bengal Patua school painting style. The accordion pages can be read as a traditional book or extended to a panorama more than seven feet long. Some illustrations are striking, particularly the initial image of God as a huge eye with fiery tendrils shooting upward while rivers of tears stream down to converge in waters that flow across all the pages. Noah and Na'mah not only look alike but also resemble the smiling corpses floating in the waves. The two-dimensional paintings have a static quality. Animals board and disembark in orderly lines and journey in tidy compartments. Young readers may be intrigued by the fold-out panorama, but most libraries are probably well supplied with other versions of this story. Older students in art or design might enjoy studying Chitrakar's style. For a version of a Hindu flood tale for young readers consider Roberta Arenson's Manu and the Talking Fish (Barefoot, 2000).—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Kirkus Reviews
A fresh take on an enduring tale retells the story of Noah and Na'mah and the great flood. The book's innovative accordion design illustrated in the Bengal Patua style of scroll painting is just one of the sumptuous design elements that distinguish it as a remarkable offering. A slipcase decorated with the eponymous ark adrift on swirling blue ocean waters covers the hardcover; when it is revealed, it shows pairs of animals, two by two aboard the vessel. The first pages invite readers to open up the spreads side by side so they unfurl into a continuous piece of art, first showing a great eye looking down upon verdant landscape. Omniscient opening narration acknowledges the story's ancient origins and says, "great tales deserve to be repeated--and so let me tell it here again, in my way." The familiar tale progresses and refreshingly gives an equal role to Na'mah as she and Noah hear God's warning, build the ark and gather animal pairs to board it. Once the world floods, the art unfolds in the opposite direction, neatly bisecting the story into ante- and postdiluvian parts. A curious artistic decision shows the people not saved by the ark smiling as they succumb to the flood waters, but all other illustrations, including the culminating vision of the rainbow, are sublime. A gorgeous re-envisioning of an old, old story. (Picture book/art book. 3 & up)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9789380340180
Publisher:
Tara Books
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
34
Sales rank:
885,613
Product dimensions:
9.40(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.70(d)
Lexile:
940L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"It is said from time to time, the world is remade. Ancient stories talk of an age when a huge flood destroyed the earth, leaving nothing behind . . . You may have heard it before, but great tales must be retold — and so I will tell it now in my way, as I have heard it said." — from the book

Meet the Author


A highly original and creative voice in contemporary Indian publishing, Gita Wolf is known for her interest in exploring and experimenting with the form of the book. She has written over twenty books for children and adults, many of which have been translated into multiple languages and recognized internationally. Joydeb Chitrakar is an artist working in the Patua scroll painting tradition from West Bengal in India. The Enduring Ark is his second project with Tara Books, the first being the handmade scrollbook Tsunami, an accordion book which he collaborated with his wife Moyna to produce. He lives in Nirbhaypur Village, West Bengal, India with his wife Moyna & their children.

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