The book begins with Noah talking to a monkey in a tree. He explains that God is creating a big flood, but that the monkey will be fine if he enters the ark. The monkey resists. Will the ark really float? he asks. Are there any trees aboard for him to swing on? "Can't you see it's way too scary? Is this whole trip necessary?"
Noah replies, "Monkey, you must trust the Lord," and monkey says, "So I prayed and jumped aboard."
Next, illustrator Elena Kucharik shows us all sorts of cute creatures aboard the ark. There's a smiling alligator soaking in a wooden tub, seals playing with a ball, opossums hanging from the ceiling, birds and cows singing, and panda bears sleeping (and snoring) in a hammock. After forty days, it stops raining and a rainbow appears. The monkey swings on it and concludes:
"When your day brings something new,
Think of Noah's floating zoo.
Pray like Monkey swinging low.
God stays with you as you go!"
What I Like: This is a terrific way to help children understand the importance of trusting God. Kucharik's illustrations are ideal for very young children. The animals are cute, expressive, and whimsical. I wouldn't want this to be my child's only book about Noah's ark (because we don't learn that God chose Noah, or why the earth was flooded, or what the rainbow means), but it's a good teaching tool, nonetheless.
What I Dislike: I wish the author had shown us the monkey's prayer. The way the story reads, the monkey goes from "Nope, I'm definitely not going" to "Okay, I'll trust God" in a sudden and glib fashion. It would be more helpful for kids to have an example of how to pray when they are scared.
Overall Rating: Very good.
Age Appeal: 4 and under.
Publishing Info: Thomas Nelson, 2007; ISBN: 1400310075; hard back, $6.99.