Multiple children’s books have tackled the questions that arise from the biblical story of Noah’s Ark, pondering problems like: How did Noah keep the weight of the animals evenly distributed? Why did Noah choose the dove to seek out dry land? And how did Noah deal with all the animals’ noise? Now, Kerry Olitzky attempts to answer an equally pressing question: Where did all of the animals on the ark go potty? The simple text and adorable, playful illustrations explain that there are places on the ark for each animal to eat, sleep, play, and use the potty. The different potties are made with grass, dirt, sand, and rocks, and come in all sizes. Mother Hen shows a little raccoon how to use the potty specially designed for him. The wise owl explains to the gathered animals: “Your body is special. All kinds of things are happening inside it. Food goes in and helps to make us strong. But food also needs a way to leave your body when your body is done using it.”
The book includes a brief note about the logistics of the ark on the inside front flap, but does not give any explanation of who Noah was, nor does it discuss the flood. The story ends with Owl teaching the animals a blessing translated from the Hebrew for using the potty. Young children already familiar with the story of Noah’s Ark will certainly be entertained, but as a book to teach about and encourage potty training, it is rather didactic and uninspiring.
Recommended for ages 1 to 4.
Rachel Kamin is the Director of the Joseph and Mae Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, Illinois. A past chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee, Rachel is currently the co-editor of Book Reviews for Children & Teens for the Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter. She holds a BA in history from Grinnell College and a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Michigan.