cover image The Animal’s Ark

The Animal’s Ark

Marianne Dubuc. Kids Can, $16.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-77138-623-4

Though Dubuc’s (The Lion and the Bird) softly colored pencil drawings don’t seem momentous, this is a noteworthy project. It’s the Noah and the Ark envisioned as a strictly meteorological event, leaving out all divine intervention. The weather turns rainy, the animals realize it’s quite wet, and a nice man in a boat comes along just in time. Most of the story is taken up with tense moments in close quarters (“The goldfish didn’t quite know what to do with himself... and the cat was feeling peckish,” Dubuc writes, as a striped cat looks hungrily at the fish in the bowl on the facing page) and the way the animals’ characteristics color the journey. “The hedgehogs were a thorn in others’ hides,” she writes as a lion with quills in its backside stares irately at a pair of hedgehogs. Adult readers may react with dismay as the Old Testament deity is erased from the tale—or with relief that they aren’t forced to explain a vengeful God. Either way, the rainbow and a sense of gratitude (“Goodbye and thank you, Mr. Noah!”) still crown the journey’s end. Ages 3–7. (Apr.)