Noah’s Bark

Stephen Kren­sky; Roge, illus
  • Review
By – August 30, 2011
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.

Read­ing Guide

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