Book Concierge's Reviews > Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark by Peter Spier
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it was amazing
bookshelves: animals, caldecott, children-s-literature, illustrated, library, picture-book

A seventeenth-century Dutch poem by Jacobus Revius is the inspiration for this gloriously detailed picture book, which earned a Caldecott Medal. Spier translated the poem which mentions
“Cow and moose,
Hare and goose,
Sheep and ox,
Bee and fox…”
The poem, itself, is on page 1, but the story really begins on the front inside cover and flyleaf, with a two-page panoramic spread that shows destruction of a village in the distance, while Noah and his family prosper on a hillside and the words “…But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”

This is followed by two more “double truck” pictorial panoramas showing the construction of the ark, while a parade of villagers streams past, and the stacks of provisions ready to be loaded aboard, before the poem is printed.

The rest of the book is entirely pictorial. And these are wonderful illustrations! I poured over them, noticing the pairs of different animals, and marveling at the minute details he included. There are even pairs of spiders, scorpions, dodos and echidnas! The big cats are carefully crated before being loaded aboard the Ark. Mrs Noah is obviously unhappy about the mice and creepy-crawlies. The animals and people left behind are slowly engulfed by the rising waters, as is the landscape.

I especially liked how Spier showed the work involved in caring for this menagerie … feeding the animals, mucking out stalls, providing water. Noah and his family members are delighted when new chicks hatch, or puppies are born, but visibly tired and worn as time passes and the rains continue. By the time the dove returns with the olive branch the people and animals are all equally relieved that their ordeal will soon be over. The elephants are first off, followed by a parade of animals and people. The slow-pokes – turtles and snails are the last to depart. The final panoramic spread, composing the back inside cover, shows the miraculous rainbow, and Noah on a hillside “…and he planted a vineyard.”

What I particularly appreciate about this richly drawn book is that it will allow children to use their imaginations to tell the story of what is happening in each panel. I don’t have any little ones in my life, but I want to go out and buy this book so I can look at the pictures again and again to my heart’s content.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
July 13, 2017 – Finished Reading
July 14, 2017 – Shelved
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: animals
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: caldecott
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: children-s-literature
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: illustrated
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: library
July 14, 2017 – Shelved as: picture-book

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