Mrs. Noah’s Veg­etable Ark

Ele­na Pasquali; Steve Lavis, illus.
  • Review
By – November 7, 2011

This is a thor­ough­ly enjoy­able new view of how all those ani­mals and Mr. and Mrs. Noah, too, thrived on the ark. Mrs. Noah is an avid gar­den­er and, although her gar­den could use a bit more water, she real­izes that if Mr. Noah is cor­rect, her veg­etable gar­den will be ruined. Com­bin­ing Noah’s deter­mi­na­tion to car­ry on with his plans for the upcom­ing flood and Mrs. Noah’s insight­ful­ness and her efforts to save the plants, Noah’s fam­i­ly and the ani­mals are well fed dur­ing the del­uge and the world’s future gar­dens are saved. 

The active par­tic­i­pa­tion of Mrs. Noah will serve edu­ca­tors and par­ents in answer­ing a young child’s ques­tions: what did the ani­mals eat, where did their food come from? Mrs. Noah’s actions address the larg­er envi­ron­men­tal land­scape and pro­vide mate­r­i­al for devel­op­ing dis­cus­sions on the care of plants and our food sources that can also be expand­ed into the con­cepts of Tikkun Olam. The author does not direct­ly use the name of God, yet the sup­port that Mrs. Noah gives to Mr. Noah and his deter­mined faith can be eas­i­ly woven into the text, rein­forc­ing Juda­ic thought. At the end, it is one of Mrs. Noah’s mis­placed olive trees that announces the sight­ing of land to the ground­ed ark, join­ing the over­ar­ch­ing theme of peo­ple and nature work­ing together. 

The art­work of Steve Lavis is a joy­ful adven­ture. His use of col­or, pat­tern, and real­ism, along with a touch of humor, brings the text to life, mak­ing it fun and inter­ac­tive. Chil­dren will be involved in the dis­cov­ery of the plants and ani­mals. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 2 – 7.

Chris­tine Maas­dam holds a Mas­ters in Human­i­ties, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in Muse­um Stud­ies and Cul­tur­al Prop­er­ty Pro­tec­tion. She is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing her M.L.I.S. Her inter­ests are phi­los­o­phy and the impact of art and tech­nol­o­gy on culture.

Discussion Questions