The Lifeboat that Saved the World

illus. by Dylan Giles. 112p. Thames & Hudson. Nov. 2017. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9780500651223.
Gr 4–7—Most young people are familiar with the story of Noah and the Great Flood from the Bible, but an older version of this event from ancient Mesopotamian lore exists—and is the focus of this work. The author provides a careful and detailed explanation of how this story was found and why, after thousands of years, people are still able to decipher the ancient cuneiform. In the retelling, Finkel uses bold type to indicate where his text uses exact words from the cuneiform original, which is not frequent; but it is significant in the details of its content. The story itself is rich in its characterization and the arguments between the gods are humorous. The author clearly has a passion for this subject, and while readers might not pick this title up on their own, it will appeal to teens (as well as adult readers) with an interest in ancient epics.
VERDICT A possible addition to middle school libraries for curriculum support, or for readers with specific interests in ancient Mesopotamia, the Great Flood, or cuneiform writing.

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