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On Noah's Ark
Cover of On Noah's Ark
On Noah's Ark
by Jan Brett
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Jan Brett's intricate illustrations against a beautiful papyrus background make a stunning picture book of a favorite story-this time featuring Noah's granddaughter. As the floodwaters rise, she helps take the animals onto the ark and get them settled down. But it's not easy when giraffes are sleeping next to pandas and lions are curled up with turkeys. Finally the gentle rocking of the ark lulls them all to sleep until the waters recede and Grandpa Noah, his family, and all the animals leave the ark. This simple telling, combined with extraordinary illustrations of every animal imaginable, makes On Noah's Ark perfect for young and old.

Jan Brett's intricate illustrations against a beautiful papyrus background make a stunning picture book of a favorite story-this time featuring Noah's granddaughter. As the floodwaters rise, she helps take the animals onto the ark and get them settled down. But it's not easy when giraffes are sleeping next to pandas and lions are curled up with turkeys. Finally the gentle rocking of the ark lulls them all to sleep until the waters recede and Grandpa Noah, his family, and all the animals leave the ark. This simple telling, combined with extraordinary illustrations of every animal imaginable, makes On Noah's Ark perfect for young and old.

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  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 25, 2003
    Brett (The Mitten), long celebrated for her lush depictions of animals in vibrant, often exotic settings, turns her focus to the popular Bible story—and omits the biblical framework. In a childlike, pleasingly spare text, Noah's grandchild describes some of the preparations made to protect her family and the world's animals from the impending rains. Soon, "The animals go in two by two./ Big animals thump and bump onto the ark..../ Small animals squeeze in." During the 40 days and 40 nights, "the ark rocks back and forth like a giant cradle," lulling its passengers to sleep; at last the vessel makes land, and "two by two the animals look for new homes." There's no mention of God or his relationship to Noah, nor any reason given for the Flood. The art, however, is characteristically striking. In her signature style, Brett depicts a story-within-the-story via smaller side panel artwork (she executes her work on papyrus, to recall the antiquity of the story). On each panel, a keyhole-like window in the shape of a different animal allows readers to view some of the action. In the main compositions, realistic-looking creatures of varying size and hue create a colorfully jumbled menagerie. While Brett leaves it to presiding adults to place the tale in its spiritual and/or storytelling context, her accomplished visuals should fully engage young readers. Ages 4-8.

  • School Library Journal

    September 1, 2003
    PreS-Gr 2-Brett presents the biblical story from the perspective of Noah's granddaughter. The child watches the construction of the ark and the arrival of its passengers. Once they are on board and the rain falls, she untangles the crowded beasts so that they can all sleep peacefully. When the storm ends, Grandpa Noah releases her pet dove to search for land. After the creatures disembark, she helps him plant a seed to start life anew. This familiar story serves as a vehicle for Brett's watercolor-and-gouache panoramas of animals, birds, and insects from all corners of the Earth. Even the dodo appears. Each spread features a large scene surrounded by a papyrus border. Smaller pictures that relate to the central image are presented in animal-shaped frames to the left and right. Close-up views of insects appear near the corner of some pages and the dove also has a spot in many illustrations. Such details add to the book's interest for older children, who can find something new to explore during repeat readings. Brett's fans will recognize her artistic style, and where her work is popular, this book is a "must purchase." Other librarians may want to assess demand for Noah stories versus the number of titles in the collection, including Jerry Pinkney's Noah's Ark (North-South, 2002). If there is room for one more interpretation, this one is worth considering.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato

    Copyright 2003 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Penguin Young Readers Group
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