A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that intricate watercolor illustrations tell this traditional story. Slight reference to killings and war is made early on, as in the Bible tale, and later pages show some animals being left behind. Parents should be prepared to discuss those things if kids take notice. However, the beauty of the book far, far outweighs anything negative.
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What's the story?
Before the rains come, Noah builds and loads the ark, a wooden boat which for weeks floats alone with its menagerie on the vast sea. Finally, the sea subsides, the ark finds land, and Noah releases the animals to repopulate the earth while he rebuilds his vineyard under a rainbowed sky.
Is it any good?
This tale is straight from the Bible, with no surprises, but the illustrations that tell it are masterpieces. Drawn with delicate black ink lines and painted with an amazingly sensitive touch of watercolor, pages are blocked with several pictures that teem with life, emotion, and humor.
This is a wonderful book, just one of the many that demonstrate Peter Spier's talents as an illustrator and storyteller. It begins with the translation of a Dutch poem about Noah's ark written in the 1600s by Jacobus Revius. From then on, it belongs to Spiers and the world he creates with his pen and paints.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this book as a traditional Bible story. Why did God choose Noah to build the ark? What is an ark? How did Noah choose the animals? Families might talk about the amazing illustrations. Younger kids will enjoy naming the animals they see and noticing how they live on the ark. Older kids, and adult readers, will enjoy sharing the humor of Noah's wife standing on the basket in fear of the mice, Noah shooing away the swarm of bees, and the many other small touches.