Many Waters Book Poster Image

Many Waters



Kids are pulled into epic good vs. evil struggle.

What parents need to know

Not applicable

Two veiled references to making love; several bare-breasted women. A coarse sexual expression is used in reference to an enticing woman.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the twist on the familiar Noah and the ark story. How does this book change the way you view the original tale?

Book details

Author:Madeleine L'Engle
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Yearling Books
Publication date:January 1, 1986
Number of pages:336

This review of Many Waters was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written byantoncherian April 9, 2008
Adult Written bybadumais April 9, 2008

Great Book for Teens

I am so glad I read this book before giving it to my nine year old due to the "coming of age" theme. It contains several references to nudity and sex between the nephilim (fallen angels) and humans. (This is noted in the Bible as one of the reasons for the flood.) This book is better suited for the teen age group and promotes abstinence/innocence. The twins are not able to ride unicorns if they loose their innocence. One of the boys is regularly tested in this area. It is set in Noah's time period with the twin boys from the previous 3 books at age 15. In the prior books the twins never take part in the action, so it is nice that they get a book on their own. The only drawback is that it was out of place in the time line of the previous books. I loved the biblical tie ins throughout the story with Noah's family. It raises several provoking thoughts about Noah possibly having more children that may not have been let on the Ark (ie a girl Yalith who is taken to heaven like Enoch). Madeline does this by referencing that women were rarely mentioned in the Old Testament. Other children are mentioned that are not allowed on because of their interrelations with the nephilim. Overall, it was a wonderful story with great spiritual content and lessons. It talks of taking out time to be quiet and listen to God talking in the wind. It is a wonderful good versus evil book.
Teen, 14 years old Written bydanielle707 April 9, 2008


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Family Media Agreement