Two by Two, by John Winch

There was a time, long ago, when the animals lived together in peace and contentment.
Life was good. The days were long and warm…

In this skilful retelling of the story of Noah’s ark, it is the animals who take centre stage. When their peace is shattered by the great flood, they seek shelter in the boat which features, along with its maker and his wife, as an unnamed refuge.

In this way, author and illustrator John Winch makes the story both timeless and non-demoninational. As he says in his introduction, the tale of a great flood is told in over three hundred cultures and this is just one retelling, with the common theme of the earth being cleansed of evil and of the rebirth of goodness.

The evil in this story is portrayed only through the illustrations. While the animals live in harmony in the opening pages, around them are denuded forests and the smoke of men’s fires. When the animals finally leave the ark it is to grassy plains and blue skies.

This is a beautiful tale, to be read just for that beauty, although it would be fitting for use in a religious or ethics studies classroom and also for classes studying themes relating to the environment.


Two By Two, by John Winch
Scholastic, 2004