cover image Mrs. Noah’s Doves

Mrs. Noah’s Doves

Jane Yolen, illus. by Alida Massari. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-72842-426-2

“Before there was rain,/ Mrs. Noah kept injured birds,” writes Yolen (Elefantastic!), immediately drawing readers into this poetic and visually striking variation on the ark story. Portrayed with light brown skin and flowing white hair, Mrs. Noah exudes serenity as she nurses her feathered patients, and they, in turn, know “she would keep them safe/ until they were well enough, or old enough,/ to go off on their own.” But she loves the doves best of all: “They reminded her of her grandmother/ cooing over the newest grandchild/ or, at night, bending over to pray/ in her soft, gray clothing.” When the rains come and the waters rise (the story reverses the traditional chronology of building and storm), Mrs. Noah urges her husband to save her beloved birds, soon learning that God, through Mr. Noah, has much bigger plans in mind—and an important role for her doves. With flowing lines, soft rich tones, and patterning reminiscent of decorative art (the doves’ wings seem almost bejeweled), Massari (Goddess Power) conveys a time and place that feels both of its time and deeply familiar, and the creators render Mrs. Noah as the epitome of selfless love and enduring hope. Ages 5–9. (May)