A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is based on the story of Noah and the ark; the biblical characters begin to seem real, and their dilemmas are involving. Descriptions of the fantastic creatures and the desert setting are evocative.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Fifteen-year-old twins Sandy and Dennys are the practical members of the Murry family. Unlike their siblings, Meg and Charles, they have never experienced a journey through time or space. But when, overcome with winter doldrums, they type "TAKE ME SOMEPLACE WARM" on their physicist father's computer, they are suddenly whisked away to biblical times.
Here, the fallen angels vie for control of Earth with the seraphim, and a diminutive patriarch named Noah has received a mysterious message from El to begin building a huge ship.
Sandy and Dennys must find a way to return to their own time before the flood begins, but they are concerned for the fate of Noah's beautiful granddaughter, Yalith, who is not mentioned in the biblical account.
Forced to think independently for the first time, the twins affect history in ways they couldn't have imagined, learning that "some things have to be believed to be seen."
Is it any good?
The biblical characters -- both the tiny, long-lived humans and the angels -- are considerably more interesting than the twins; even the animal characters have more personality. The main characters, Sandy and Dennys, spend a good part of this book just recovering from sunburn, being tended by members of Noah's family. When Sandy and Dennys do speak, they tend to state the perfectly obvious.
Eventually, readers are pulled into the struggle between angels and fallen angels, the ageless battle between good and evil that is at the heart of all the Chronos Quartet stories. Madeleine L'Engle raises the interesting questions of what part the twins will play in the battle, and what will happen to Yalith, whom they both love. This is not conventional storytelling, but it has its own rewards.