cover image Noah Builds an Ark

Noah Builds an Ark

Kate Banks, illus. by John Rocco. Candlewick, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7484

Banks (Pup and Bear) sets her retelling of the biblical story of Noah’s ark in a garden behind a block of brick homes and casts a brown-skinned boy in the ark builder’s role. When Noah’s father starts boarding up windows ahead of a powerful storm (“It’s going to be a beauty,” he says), Noah prepares, too, removing the wheels from his red wagon, attaching walls and a roof, and setting food inside. “Come,” he whispers to the garden creatures—salamanders, spiders, toads, snakes, and more—inviting them to take shelter where it’s safe. Rocco (Big Machines: The Story of Virginia Lee Burton) paints Noah’s family waiting out the storm on the left-hand pages, while the animals are seen in striking close-ups on the right, gathered around the table in expectant silence, sharing the food Noah has left, then resting peacefully. At the storm’s end, a rainbow arcs over Noah’s backyard. “Hallelujah,” Noah’s father says. Those familiar with the original story will enjoy finding the parallels and omissions in Banks’s retelling; newcomers will find a satisfying tale about noticing and caring for wildlife, enhanced by Rocco’s naturalistic, detailed spreads. Ages 3–7. [em](Mar.) [/em]