Monday, May 4, 2009

The Ark, the Reed, and the Firecloud 2: Good Points

The Ark, the Reed, and the Firecloud
by Jenny L. Cote

The Ark, the Reed, and the Firecloud has several good points, especially if you bear in mind that it's a children's book.

Edutainment. There's a fair amount of good information here. Reading it as an adult, I found myself occasionally annoyed at the anachronisms, especially where languages and geography were concerned. But I doubt that would harm kids, and they could pick up a little knowledge of of places, languages, cultures, and fauna. Is it all accurate? No, but it's probably at or above the norm for kids' books.

Spiritual message. The main point seems to be trusting God rather than yourself, and that point is well made, both in terms of Max's eventual temptation to rely on his spirituality and Liz's tendency to seek intellectual solutions. (She somewhat reminds me of Genie at times.)

Visual impact. It's no surprise that this story is being adapted for a movie; there are several scenes, such as the fitness sessions on the Ark, that seem written for a movie, so they should appeal to modern, video-minded kids.

Creativity. In scripture fiction, this is often a bad thing, but here it is generally positive. Cote has a different take on some things than a lot of people writing about the Flood. Do I agree with her views? Not always, but at least she's not writing like yet another clone. A lot of books like this are boring; I feel as though I've read them all before, and in a sense I have, because there's no significant difference between them. So a fresh view is a good thing, especially where kids are concerned. They need to learn that there are other views out there, and they deserve thoughtful consideration, not reflexive rejection.

The Ark, the Reed, and the Firecloud is available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

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1 comment:

David said...

I agree with you down the line here Steve. It is good "Edutainment" (I love that word. The spiritual message is clear without really coming across preachy. As a very visual person this book appealed to me in a way some books don't. The creativity is done with just enough chutzpah to make you think the story through yourself. I don't think Jenny's looking for people to agree with her as much as she is getting people to investigate the story for themselves. This is probably the most understated and yet most powerful aspect of her novel.

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