Friday, October 10, 2014

The Story of Noah - A Wordless Picture Book by Mark Ludy - Simply...Magnificent!

This will be quite different a review for must be because I can't share excerpts nor can I attempt to match what is inside, created by a major professional artist...
I've used what I consider is a reasonable picture to show what could be the remains of the Ark from a web site that seemed to be based upon actual research for the site. Of course there have been many such "findings" and, as the publicity for the book says, "Move over Hollywood: Noah meets an artist who gets his story right."
Of course they are referring to a controversial movie by Aronofsky, which I have not seen, so will not commit other than that Noah who was 500 years old at the time of the Biblical story, surely wasn't able to be played by Russell Crowe...LOL
The main reason for bringing this into my article is to highlight that at the same time the movie was being made,  the author, Mark Ludy, was also inspired to be creating a picture book of the same story...

I am also including a version of the original story below, as reference for those interested and perhaps not as familiar with the Biblical story, since Mark Ludy's children's story is "biblically accurate and family friendly..."

A Wordless Picture Book
By Mark Ludy

Sooooo, how does a reader review a wordless picture book... You knew the answer right away, didn't you... Very carefully! Before I started writing, I looked around the Internet to see what else this author/artist does. I found a distinct difference for the book, Noah. This is meant to be a more serious learning children's book, as opposed to what I thought as more fun books he has also created. All of his work is fantastic and there are even some of the pictures in the book that are available for sale. His work reminds me somewhat of Thomas Kinkade--but aimed for his audience of children. In saying that, I'm saying that he's able to create scenes that draw the audience in with his detail... I found a few examples from this book on his Facebook page...

Here in this series, we find Noah, working on the drawings. You begin to think about how you would decide how big the ark would need to be...and how you would provide space for each two of the animals that were to be taken... Only then do you realize that, Noah is probably at home, and so the picture of the entire room is shown, which is then spotlighted on the main character, Noah--getting him exactly as 500-year-old Noah would look throughout the book, and only then, when satisfied, moving on to the remaining setting for that particular page... Even if I hadn't included the pictures, when readers turn each and every page, a detailed background setting of the Biblical story is drawn to reflect, the story as it was originally written...

Starting right from the covers, the story begins with the back blurb being the only words...


Turning the first page presents the ancestral line for Noah as a picture of Methuselah cuddles his grandson, Noah, in his arms... The next page which is normally a blank white copyright info page, is a bold two-page setting of Noah traveling with oxen pulling his wagon. I found the trees particularly intriguing and did wonder if they represented a type of tree unknown to me but the beauty and dimensional sizes of the trees to the people is what first grabs the viewers' attention.

There is a tiny little door next to a stream--perhaps the home of the fisherman on the other side. What we notice is that the door leads, seemingly, into the ground, perhaps showing how some built their living spaces at that time.

Now, there is a special secret hunt for children which I found a fun addition,,, A squeaker is supposed to be found on each page, but of course he would be painted and could be anywhere... I did find a mouse hole, but didn't know whether that counted or not. LOL Anyway, from my days of reading, I know there are fun times ahead asking a child to find the trees, the sheep, the fisherman and, then, of course Noah, heading perhaps home after being at the market...

Now of course, an important part of the story is... 
why the Flood? There, also, right at the beginning is the wonderfully detailed total story!

The things I noticed mainly were that there were plenty of surly soldiers, while Noah watches, as he's heading for the gate, that two thugs are holding a knife to a man! I also saw evidence of false god worship...did you?

In any event, Noah proceeds on home and his loving wife is there to greet him,,, We quickly see they are a happy couple and his wife has their meal, ready and waiting, for the joyous return of Noah to her side...

Then a little time is spent showing Noah's daily work, getting up early, feeding his animals and working in his fields, harvesting grapes.

But suddenly a bright light comes from above, and he falls to the ground shielding his eyes... He begins to pray, to be a little worried and then look upward, perhaps in silent acknowledgment... How do I write what he was feeling? Well, there were no words...but Noah's eyes were speaking to those who will read and understand... Magnificent closeups portrayal for Noah's time with God... But then he had to explain it to his wife. Of course, she wasn't there so is somewhat hesitant about this amazing announcement... 

For Noah was commanded to prepare for a great flood! Now in the pictures, I did have one thought when I saw a dinosaur being used to haul a timber wagon... I didn't bother or worry about it, though--mainly because I know that children always seem to be fascinated by them, so I thought this was an added touch to capture children's interest... What do you think?

Soon after they were working on the ark and beginning to gather the animals, Noah's wife became pregnant. Was this her personal sign from God? There are many joyous times shown as their little one is born and grows during the time of their work...
This is one of my favorite scenes as we can see the building of the ark is almost completed and there nearby is where Noah worked with his architectural drawings, while a large elephant is being brought to the scene and another son may be deciding whether he should take this tree next. I would have chosen another so that this beautiful tree, near the stream, would continue to provide shade there to perhaps sit and rest...

Of course, everybody knows what is coming--A Flood!

But how did the people feel about Noah's work, his ark? And what happens when the rains start falling...The next part is excitingly presented, while at the same time is not too graphic, I felt, for sharing the story with children. I feel confident enough about this wonderfully illustrated story that I will be passing it on for my niece and nephew to share... 

The book itself is outstanding in quality, 8 1/2 and 11 in size, and illustrated in full, brilliant colors that are worthy of those found in the finest art... It is a "reimagining" of the story that is well worth consideration. My personal comment is that, other than for the dinosaur, it is perfectly in line with my own memories of the story I've listened to and read about since childhood. Those who want their children to better understand the Biblical story should find this book quite worthy of consideration... 

And those who don't know the story? I hope I've shared enough to raise your interest. For me, I highly recommend it!


Mark and his family have recently moved back to Colorado (33 years of life have already been lived here so this is more "home" than anywhere.) and they are living in the South Denver area. He is an author and illustrater of a number of children's books as well as being a regular speaker in schools.

At a young age he loved to draw... draw on everything and anything. He never would have thought he would one day make a living from his doodles and crazy ideas. But he is now very happy to use his gifts in the arts to make people smile, feel good, be encouraged, inspired... and challenged.

Brief reference...obtained from Inernet without reference to specific edition...
From Genesis... 32  After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Hapheth....
Wickedness in the World
6 When human beings began to increase in number on the earth and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of humans were beautiful, and they married any of them they chose. 3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not contend with[a] humans forever, for they are mortal[b]; their days will be a hundred and twenty years.”
4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days—and also afterward—when the sons of God went to the daughters of humans and had children by them. They were the heroes of old, men of renown.
5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth,and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time.6 The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7 So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Noah and the Flood
9 This is the account of Noah and his family.
Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God. 10 Noah had three sons: Shem, Ham and Japheth.
11 Now the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. 12 God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways. 13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress[c] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high.[d] 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit[e] high all around.[f] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. 17 I am going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens, every creature that has the breath of life in it. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you. 19 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. 20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive. 21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.”
22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him.
7 The Lord then said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and your whole family, because I have found you righteous in this generation. 2 Take with you seven pairs of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and one pair of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate, 3 and also seven pairs of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth. 4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.”
5 And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.
6 Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth. 7 And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood. 8 Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground, 9 male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah. 10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13 On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark. 14 They had with them every wild animal according to its kind, all livestock according to their kinds, every creature that moves along the ground according to its kind and every bird according to its kind, everything with wings. 15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. 16 The animals going in were male and female of every living thing, as God had commanded Noah. Then the Lord shut him in.
17 For forty days the flood kept coming on the earth, and as the waters increased they lifted the ark high above the earth. 18 The waters rose and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the surface of the water. 19 They rose greatly on the earth, and all the high mountains under the entire heavens were covered. 20 The waters rose and covered the mountains to a depth of more than fifteen cubits.[g][h] 21 Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22 Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.
24 The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days.
8 But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind over the earth, and the waters receded. 2 Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. 3 The water receded steadily from the earth. At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down, 4 and on the seventeenth day of the seventh month the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat. 5 The waters continued to recede until the tenth month, and on the first day of the tenth month the tops of the mountains became visible.
6 After forty days Noah opened a window he had made in the ark 7 and sent out a raven,and it kept flying back and forth until the water had dried up from the earth. 8 Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded from the surface of the ground. 9 But the dove could find nowhere to perch because there was water over all the surface of the earth; so it returned to Noah in the ark. He reached out his hand and took the dove and brought it back to himself in the ark. 10 He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. 11 When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.12 He waited seven more days and sent the dove out again, but this time it did not return to him.
13 By the first day of the first month of Noah’s six hundred and first year, the water had dried up from the earth. Noah then removed the covering from the ark and saw that the surface of the ground was dry. 14 By the twenty-seventh day of the second month the earth was completely dry.
15 Then God said to Noah, 16 “Come out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons and their ives. 17 Bring out every kind of living creature that is with you—the birds, the animals, and all the creatures that move along the ground—so they can multiply on the earth and be fruitful and increase in number on it.”
18 So Noah came out, together with his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives. 19 All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds—everything that moves on land—came out of the ark, one kind after another.
20 Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and cleanbirds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though[i]every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroyall living creatures, as I have done.
22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
God’s Covenant With Noah
9 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. 2 The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands. 3 Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything.
4 “But you must not eat meat that has its lifeblood still in it. 5 And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.
6 “Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
7 As for you, be fruitful and increase in number; multiply on the earth and increase upon it.”
8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: 9 “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”
12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

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