A Patch on the Peak of Ararat (A Faith That God Built Book)

Gary Bow­er; Bar­bara Chotin­er, illus.
  • Review
By – October 1, 2017

A Patch on the Peak of Ararat by Gary Bow­er | Jew­ish Book Coun­cil

This clever, delight­ful pic­ture book about Noah’s Ark takes the hap­py parts of Gen­e­sis 6: 9 and recaps them for young­sters in a rhyming for­mat based on The House That Jack Built.

The vocab­u­lary is charm­ing and the pace is fast. Action, char­ac­ters, and illus­tra­tions are fun. Gone is the mean rea­son God sends the flood (bad peo­ple) as well as scary thoughts about the fate of humans and ani­mals not on the boat. The atti­tude is flip and mod­ern: The sons, hard-ham­mer­ing guys, have sweet­hearts, not wives. The text is poet­ic and evoca­tive: water rains with the rush of a deaf­en­ing down­pour and gur­gling gush. The hap­py end­ing of Noah’s jig mesh­es with God’s mov­ing promise sealed by a rainbow.

The fact that this author relies on a Chris­t­ian Bible and a sec­u­lar poem does not dis­tort this Noah ver­sion. After all, the Noah sto­ry pre­dates both reli­gions and the Jack build­ing rhyme itself builds from the Ara­ma­ic poem Chad Gadya first print­ed in the 1590 Prague Hag­gadah. Park on any patch or peak and enjoy this amus­ing book over and over again with your read­ers ages 3 to 6.

Ellen G. Cole, a retired librar­i­an of the Levine Library of Tem­ple Isa­iah in Los Ange­les, is a past judge of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Awards and a past chair­per­son of that com­mit­tee. She is a co-author of the AJL guide, Excel­lence in Jew­ish Children’s Lit­er­a­ture. Ellen is the recip­i­ent of two major awards for con­tri­bu­tion to Juda­ic Librar­i­an­ship, the Fan­ny Gold­stein Mer­it Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries and the Dorothy Schroed­er Award from the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. She is on the board of AJLSC.

Discussion Questions