Meet at the Ark at Eight

Ulrich Hub, illus. by J%C3%B6rg M%C3%BChle. Eerdmans, $12 (72p) ISBN 978-0-8028-5410-0
Hub's standout debut in English, a quirky rendition of the story of Noah's Ark, is narrated from the perspective of three theologically inquisitive penguins and a managerial dove, exploring with humor and insight ancient and contemporary questions raised by the biblical text. The penguins wrestle with their own cantankerous nature, ("Why on earth are we always fighting?"), their rudimentary understanding of God, ("Oh, God… that's a difficult question,"), guilt (one penguin accidentally sits on a butterfly he'd been thinking about killing), heaven, judgment, and more. A nagging feeling that she's forgotten "something important" plagues the harried dove, who's responsible both for acquiring passengers and chaos-control; her distraction allows the penguins to sneak their friend on board, breaking the only-two-of-each-species rule. Mühle's pen-and-ink illustrations convey hilarity, pandemonium, and emotional depth, as the two penguins' efforts to hide the third lead the dove to believe she's speaking with God and unwittingly reveal her faith, doubt, and anger: "This flood is a catastrophe!" Only when orchestrating the paired disembarking does the dove realize what she'd forgotten—a partner—which results in an unconventional but loving union. Delightful and deep. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/20/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Genre: Children's
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