Og’s Ark

Alli­son and Wayne Marks; Mar­ti­na Pelu­so, illus.
  • Review
By – July 14, 2016

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. 

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