Combining references to the last giant in the Bible and the Book of Deuteronomy (Sefer Devarim), the Marks have crafted a gentle tale about Og, the giant who rode on the roof of Noah’s ark. They imagine his kindness to animals coupled with his longing for a good night’s sleep and connect each verbal image to the natural world. Like young Paul Bunyan, Og is an extraordinary baby. His cooing causes rocks to fall, and it takes the milk from two hundred cows and goats to quench his thirst. However, as the giant grows taller than the cedar trees, Og’s sleeping woes get bigger, for there is no bed which can hold him. Finally, he stretches out on the ground. Animals nestle on him, but it’s hard to sleep.
Noah, seeing that Og is kind to the animals, despite some grouchiness, asks Og to help him bring animals to the ark before the Great Flood. Og does, and when Og himself now doesn’t want to be left behind, Noah invites the giant to sit on top of the ark. He does. Disembarking, Noah thanks Og and hopes that God will reward the giant for his help. That night, as he wanders off alone, Og comes to a palace with a giant bed, perfect for him. He thanks God, and then his loneliness ends as the animals run in to shelter with him. The strongest sense of unhappiness from the giant shows up mid-book.
On one page, tears appear when Og tries to crawl into the ark and realizes that he does not fit. On another page, Og is hunched in the rain on top of the ark. Words say that he is comforted by the sounds of his animal friends below, but the story asks for more to be given to him, perhaps from the animals, right there. Like the huggable roundness of this big-eyed giant and the natural world which Peluso fills with greens, blues, and browns, the Marks keep their tale comfortably unwrinkled and fetching.
Recommended for ages 3 – 6.
Sharon Elswit, author of The Jewish Story Finder, now resides in San Francisco, where she has been helping students visiting 826 Valencia locations around the city to write stories and poems and getting adults up and retelling Jewish folktales to share with their own spin.