Two by Two by Two: 9

Jonathan Allen, Author Dial Books $14.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-1838-8
Rather than preach the moral aspects of the Noah's Ark legend, Allen (The Red Dragon) wittily imagines what the animals did for fun on their 40-day cruise. The tale's biblical origins are mentioned only once (``It all began when God told Noah that there was a terrible flood coming''); this Ark is a festive floating jungle, with breezy but accurate gouache-and-ink cartoons of exotic animals. First, the animals get to know one another (``In an isolated corner, the skunks and polecats formed the Smelly Society''); later, they stage friendly competitions (a gnu with ``delicate and interesting'' horns challenges a kudu's claim that ``twirly horns are better!''). Allen's crowded spreads, with labels identifying the animals and voice bubbles interspersed with text, are worthy homages to Richard Scarry. There's even a ``Where's Wallaby?'' puzzle. The author/artist fills every page with this secular silliness, and although he goes, well, overboard on a few superfluous voice bubbles, zoo enthusiasts won't mind a bit. Ages 4-8. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/1995
Release date: 05/01/1995
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