A new slant on Noah’s Ark delights children with its sight and sound. Sydney Taylor Winner Stephen Krensky gives a staple bible story a fresh approach rooted in language and psychological realism. The author stresses fear from the rain and untested quality of the boat, rare in picture books which usually focus on boredom and crowding. How to make the journey safe? Noah has a sound idea. Noah’s bark refers to his shouting, not his ship! In cramped conditions, exasperated by tension and water, Noah cannot organize for safety or pleasure because animal sounds are random, ever changing and at a moment’s whim. Tired of barking at his passengers, Noah devises a clever way to organize animal sounds which allows him to organize the rainy ride. Biblically, Adam names the animals; here Noah gets the shot at taking Adam’s work one step further: he individualizes and identifies their method of communication. Krensky assumes readers know Noah’s cargo is pairs of animals of all different types; in his opening, the animals who “believe he will keep them safe” climb aboard; not until the end, when they get off, does the text note two-by-two. Delicious pictures, active layout and changing font combine with brisk text and clear message in this appealing new version of Noah’s biblical journey. Recommended for ages 4 – 7.
Ellen G. Cole, the 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.