“Tff.Tff. Single drops of rain raised little divots of dust, as though invisible feet were running over the dirt…..it had begun.”
Everyone knows the story. How it rained for forty days and forty nights. How Noah collected two of each animal and forbade anyone but his family on the Ark.
But Geraldine McCaughrean’s book, Not the End of the World, tells another story. It’s the story of Shem who cares only for the glory of his lineage and of Japheth whose only concern is the animals. At the center of the story is Timna, Noah’s daughter, who tells us how she rescues a boy and his baby sister from the flood and hides them from her father. The animals, too, have a voice. The terrified rabbit, the defiant raven, and the predatory lion all have their say. Frightened, hungry and desperate human and animal struggle to survive. But in the end it is Noah’s wife who questions her husband’s reasoning, defies him and saves her daughter. Not the End of the World won the British Whitbread Children’s Award for 2004. Well deserved, I’d say.