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Naamah and the Ark at Night

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  318 ratings  ·  79 reviews
As Noah’s wife sings the animals to sleep, an age-old tale is told afresh in a soothing poetic form brought to life with beautiful collage illustrations.

Naamah is the wife of Noah, and her name means "great singer." For forty days and forty nights, as the ark tosses on storm-wracked seas, Naamah sings. She sings to the animals, two by two. She sings to her husband, her
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 9th 2011 by Candlewick

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  318 ratings  ·  79 reviews

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Sep 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Malinda, Gundula, Kathryn, Abigail
Did you ever wonder how Noah and his family survived living in the cramped, smelly ark with all those noisy animals? Bartoletti suggests that Naamah, whose name means "sweet" or "pleasant," kept them calm at night by singing to them.
Dramatic watercolor collage illustrations by Caldecott Honor winner Holly Meade illuminate this gentle story, told in the traditional form of a "ghazal," which concludes every line with the same word ("night" in this case). The repetition makes it a predictable
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Naamah, Noah's wife, sings a lullaby to all the creatures and humans aboard the ark at night.

I enjoyed this story for several reasons. The most dominant being that Naamah is often left out of retellings and Bartoletti makes her the star.
Erica P
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-lit
"Naamah and the Ark at Night" by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustrations by Holly Meade, holds the Sydney Taylor Award which is an award that recognizes books of Jewish content for children and teens, and books that exemplify the highest literary standard while authentically portraying the Jewish experience. This book is a traditional literature and poetry picture book for the intermediate level. Traditional literature are stories that are passed down from one group to another in history. This ...more
Children's Literature Centre at FSU
Naamah and the Ark at Night is a creative and lyrical re-imagination of Noah's Ark. This unique perspective on the story brings new depth to the well-known biblical tale. Readers of all ages will be spell-bound by the magic of Campbell-Bartoletti's rhythmic writing which are perfectly accompanied by the beautiful illustrations of Holly Meade. This modern classic could not come with a higher recommendation.
Laura Aldridge
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids-books
At first it seemed overly simple. But once I understood the challenge of the writing style I was tremendously impressed.

It’s a straight forward story. Naamah sings good night lullabies to the animals and people on the ark. But the writing challenge adds interest.
Jo Oehrlein
May 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Best read after kids already know the Noah story, this bedtime book talks about Noah's wife singing everyone in the ark to sleep.
Sami Snow
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The illustrations were stunning. The book was based on scholars ideas of what Noah's wife would have been like.

Trait: Presentation
AR: 0
DRA: 2
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
3.5 stars. Great illustrations, great concept, but the text is on the simple side. Appropriate for the youngest of readers.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
I loved the images, especially the pages that were in shadows. Great for reading aloud before bed. Beautifully written and great repetition.
Oct 16, 2012 rated it did not like it
A Newbery Honoree and her Caldecott counterpart come together in the creation of this atypical yet appealing picture book, well-conceived and skillfully executed with a nice blend of dark, noble colors and quiet, lyrical writing. In addition to showing us the beauty of the form of poetry known as the ghazal, author Susan Campbell Bartoletti also teaches us something about Jewish cultural tradition as it relates to the story of Noah's family and the Great Flood. Noah's wife, Naamah (pronounced ...more
Feb 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Naamah And The Ark At Night by Susan Campbell Bartoletti, illustrated by Holly Meade tells of how Noah's wife, Naamah, sings the animals and people on the ark to sleep each night.

A large font is used for the text, making it easier to read aloud. The use of an adapted form of the ghazal makes the text both soothing and different, with the last word of poem repeating, and the third to last containing the rhyme. An author's note explains her fascination with the ark story and the history and
Nancy Kotkin
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents of preschool children
Written as a lullaby following the poetic form of the ghazal, this picture book, grounded in the Biblical tale of Noah and the ark, tells a fictional story of Noah's wife singing her family and all the animals on the ark to sleep at night, despite the stormy weather and turbulent seas. Naamah fulfills a traditional role of helpful wife and loving mother, typical of her time period, which enhances the intentional comfort factor of the book.

The modern illustrations add a lot to the story and
Allison Parker
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Many stories and songs are dedicated to Noah, that great craftsman and global sea navigator. Bartoletti avoids the adventure and the man, instead devoting her book to the less celebrated wife of Noah. Naamah, walking through each of the ark's rooms in the star-lit evening, offers a gentle lyllaby to all of the occupants, human or otherwise. Holly Meade's watercolors, with saturated earth tones and deep dark blues, express both the serenity and mystery that readers may imagine filled the quiet ...more
In the tradition of the best bedtime stories, Naamah feels comfortably familiar before the first reading is done. This "lullaby" uses the ghazal, an Islamic poetic form, to create a gentle rocking reminiscent of a ship at sea or a parent's arms.

Meade's paper collages use a heavy card stock to create a dimensionality, and the simple shapes allude to the obscuring shadows or backlighting moon, even when watercolors fill in greater detail.

With the word "night" ending each line, and internal rhymes
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked this book up after finding it on my local library's booklist for children. I had never seen it before and since I've started a list of Biblical picture books, this one was a great (though different from your regular Bible story). Naamah (pronounced Na-ah-mah or Nay-ah-mah) is Noah's wife and in the book she sings the entire ark to sleep, using a ghazal, which is a form of Arabic poetry dating back to the seventh century. In the author's note, Bartoletti says "I hope that this lullaby ...more
Amanda Snow
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Review originally found at

Such a lovely, lovely lullaby! Naamah is Noah's wife and her name means "great singer" as shown on these beautifully illustrated pages. All through the night she sings to the animals, to her sons and their wives, songs of prayer and songs of love.

An incredibly simple, yet powerful book, this make such a nice bedtime reading. The illustrations are amazing, showing off the strong implications of the text and the magnificence of the night. It's a
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
The wife of Noah, Naamah, had quite a responsibility during the days and nights that the ark floated on the waters, and its inhabitants waited for the storm to cease. Naamah, whose name means "great singer," used her singing voice to soothe the restless animals and the humans who were in that huge boat. The poetic language sounds like a lullaby and utilizes great phrases such as "crashes the seams of night" (unpaginated), "wings furl at night" (unpaginated), and "tails curl at night" ...more
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s, poetry, bible
What was like like on the Ark? Before and when children ask that question, this is one of the books to reach for, an accomplished poem (a ghazzal) and lullaby, with warm and delightful illustrations._ Naamah and the Ark At Night_ also opens to a discussion of faithful risk, of being afraid as we live faithfully, and one way we may answer those fears and stay steadfast in love. So simple and so beautiful, I'd also see bringing this poem into worship and workshop alike. As with Linda Sue Park ...more
Thanks Susan for the heads-up on this lovely book! Beautiful, disciplined text, interesting historical thread, awesome artwork. Simple enough in structure for the youngest listeners, but the unusual rhyme scheme (a ghuzul, an Arabic form of poetry) and the rich details in the illustrations (Naamah checks on her grown sons along with all the other animals, the monkeys smile as they nestle together, the hippo's enormous yawn, the incessant rain out the windows) provide plenty to absorb an older ...more
Jul 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Audience: Primary
Genre: Picture Book

Sydney Taylor Honor Book

Connection: Text to Text

"Naamah and the Ark at Night" by Susan Campbell Bartoletti is the story of Noah's wife, Naamah, who sings the restless animals to sleep on the Ark at night. I chose the connection Text to Text because the story of Noah's Ark, which can be found in the Bible or another resource. Noah's Ark tells of the animals that came two by two to the Ark and stayed on the ark for forty days and forty nights with Noah and his
Gwen the Librarian
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
This lovely picturebook takes a slice of life on Noah's Ark to tell a lyrical bedtime story. As night falls, the ark pitches in the waves, and the animals are restless. But at night, Naamah, Noah's wife, sings everyone to sleep, animals and people too. The pattern and rhyme of the language are beautiful and soothing. The cut-paper illustrations are both childlike and stunning. The night sky pages are my favorites. A welcome book for families of any religious (or not) background, there isn't any ...more
Dana Burgess
Apr 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The author's not at the end of this book explains the style of writing used to write this lullaby. The style is inspired by an Arabic form of poetry dating back to at least the seventh century, called ghazal (pronounced like guzzle) It makes for a lovely, rhythmic feel as we read about Noah's wife singing the ark to sleep at night. The illustrations feel like cutouts pasted together to make pictures and are soothing rather than bold in colour. Naamah and the Ark at Night is a perfect bedtime ...more
Paul Farbman
Apr 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Religious School
This is a lullaby about a lullaby that Naamah, the wife of Noah, sings to comfort the animals and people aboard the ark. The form used is a ghazal, an Arabic form that requires each couplet in the poem to end with the same word. Bartoletti uses the word night. There is a clear rhythm to the poem. It would be fairly easy to put to music.

The illustrations are done in water color collage. Most of the hues are dark to symbolize the night. I especially liked the illustrations that were silhouettes,
Jun 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Naamah is Noah’s wife. In this picture book, she is the woman who sings the ark to sleep at night. She sings throughout the night, through the rain, soothing the animals as they are restless. She sings for the night itself, for the moon and for the stars. She sings for the earth and sky, for her family in the ark. She sings the entire ark to sleep.

Read the rest of my review at my blog, Waking Brain Cells.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Naamah is Noah’s wife and the ark is underway. Every night, Naamah sings to the animals on the ark to keep them calm. The author wrote the text of this book in an old Arabic poetic form called a ghazal.

“As rain falls over the ark at night,
As water swirls in the dark of night,
As thunder crashes the seams of night,
As Noah tosses in dreams of night,
As restless animals prowl at night,
As they pace and roar and growl at night,
Naamah sings all through the night.”
Linsey Ward
Feb 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott
The illustrations in this children's book are done through watercolors collage. I absolutely love the way the people and animals look layered against the background. The illustrations are so detailed. Some pages have only the shadows of the animals reminder the reader of the dark night. I think this book by Susan Campbell Bartoletti illustrated by Holly Meade could have won the Caldecott medal because it is a very distinct form of art and the picture are a great representation of the words.
Bridget R. Wilson
Naamah is Noah's wife. Each night on the ark, she sings to the animals and lulls them to sleep.

What I thought: A lovely story with beautiful illustrations. I'd never given Noah's wife much thought, but I'm glad Bartoletti did. The story she created is lyrical. I love the illustrations. Cut paper collage is becoming one of my favorite illustration techniques. My favorite illustrations from the book are lions & tigers and moon & stars.
Patsi Trollinger
Apr 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As she always does, Susan Campbell Bartoletti has written an intelligent picture book that is more than the sum of its parts. The text is a Blble story and a lullaby... and a contemplation of Noah's wife...and, oh, the exploration of a distinct form of poetry. (Don't miss the Author's Note in the back.) That multilayered text is combined with Holly Neade's fine collage artwork to yield stunning results.
Oct 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Naamah and the Ark at Night is about Naamah, who is the wife of Noah, sings to everyone and everything! For forty days and Forty nights as the ark goes through storms, she sings and everyone falls asleep peacefully. This is a re-tell of the original tale but in the a more rhythmic way for children to understand and enjoy.
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
In my 63 years I've never been introduced to an ancient Persian poetic structure called a ghazal, but this beautifully illustrated children's book has done so. Bartoletti tells the story of Noah's wife Naamah as she sings a lullaby to the beasts of the ark, two by two, her husband Noah, and their children. Holly Meade's illustrations are mesmerizing. And . . . she lives in Sedgwick, ME. Yay
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Susan Campbell Bartoletti is an American writer of children's literature. She was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, but eventually the family ended up in a small town in northeastern Pennsylvania. Susan started as an English teacher and inspired many students before deciding to pursue writing in earnest. She sold her first short story in 1989. Three years later in 1992 she published her first ...more