Nora’s Ark

Eileen Spinelli, Author, Nora Hilb, Illustrator
Eileen Spinelli, illus. by Nora Hilb. Zonderkidz, $14.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-310-72006-5
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In this homage to the joy of creative play and storytelling, Spinelli (Cold Snap) uses a singsong refrain to move the story forward: “Nora built an ark. Just like Noah. Well... not just like Noah.” Hilb’s illustrations depict the scenes the girl imagines with full-bleed, purple-hued paintings. The opening spread shows Nora constructing an enormous, sophisticated ark. In contrast, several discrete images against solid white backdrops convey her real-life setting on a patio, where she plays with old boxes, boards, and a broken chair. Scene by scene, Nora recreates the story of Noah’s Ark, welcoming animals, “two spiders, two goldfish, two cats, and two toy monkeys,” and seeking shelter from the rain under her makeshift contraption. Her siblings, friend, and pets move in and out of the story, invited to participate in her imaginative play as much as they wish. A final exuberant image shows a magnificent, crayon-colored rainbow arching overhead, “just like Noah’s,” in this respectful exploration of the power of a child’s imagination. Ages 4–7. (Feb.)
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