It is going to rain – and it will not be just a gentle summer shower; there is going to be a flood. Very-quick hears his father conversing with….a Voice? What is going on? He soon finds out. Atra-hasis has been told to build a boat, an ark into which he must load his family and a pair of all the animals in the world. How can this work? It is up to Very-quick to help.
Yes, the story will be familiar, but the names are very different. This is not the story that is recounted in the Old Testament about Noah. This is a retelling of the much older version from Mesopotamia in the Epic of Gilgamesh. It is a lively narrative. Irving Finkel tells the story with great verve, not just introducing his readers to a human cast with real character, but also to a pantheon of Mesopotamian gods who are as noisy and quarrelsome as any family. Supporting Finkel’s text, Dylan Giles’ black and white illustrations add a visual element which is contemporary in style but cleverly references the past.
And is it all a fiction? Well Finkel introduces his young readers to the amazing fact that this story can be read in cuneiform script, written on clay tablets which can be seen in the British Museum. Here is a very old story brought to life for a new audience – excellent.