Monday, January 4, 2010

Noah's Floating Animal Park

Although the list of Noah's Ark books for children is extensive, Noah's Floating Animal Park is a unique, fun retelling of the familiar story and ends with a very clear, well-done message of salvation.

Janine Suter tells the story in rhyme, and her word choice is quite clever. I was amused and interested to find out what she would say next. She begins the story explaining the world Noah was living in, and she doesn't sugar-coat anything. She says, "Sin was spoiling everything--it was really chilling:/Stealing, fighting everywhere! And lots and lots of killing." Suter even references the Nephilim, who she calls, ". . .very nasty guys./They were super-wicked bullies who believed the devil's lies." Noah begins to build the ark and ignores the ridicule of those around him. He collects animals to live in the ark (including dinosaur babies) and Suter explains all dog breeds and races of people known today are descendants of those who survived the flood in the ark.

At the end, Suter tells us although God promised not to destroy the world in a flood, it will pass away because of sin. She writes, "Only Jesus has the power to rescue us from sin./He'll take you up to Heaven if you give your life to Him./But like Noah, you need to be brave until the day/Jesus comes to take you to His home so far away." The illustration shows Jesus greeting children in front of a stairway leading to Heaven.

Richard Gunther's illustrations are edgy and cartoon-like and don't sugar-coat anything either. He shows people drowning as the water rises around the ark. He also shows the world in space, with a lit fuse attached (my children thought it was a Christmas tree ornament, and I didn't correct them).

What I Like: I actually enjoyed the rhyme and vocabulary. Suter uses good, challenging words, but puts them in context well.

I was impressed by the detail Suter included in her book. The story is very thorough and includes most of the information in the biblical account.

My favorite part of the story was the skillful way Suter turned the story to Jesus. She explains clearly why it is important to believe in Jesus, but she reassures us belief in Jesus will be our salvation.

What I Dislike: The rhythm doesn't always flow perfectly, but I didn't really mind.

The illustrations are definitely for the older set--they aren't cute or endearing, and could be a bit disturbing for some readers, although I think they would appeal to older kids (boys especially) who are starting to feel picture books are a bit "babyish."

Overall Rating: Very Good

Age Appeal: Publisher lists 4-8, but I would say 6 and up, due to the illustrations

Publisher Info: Master Books, 2009; ISBN: 978-0-89051-576-1; Hardcover, $9.99

Buy it Now at for $7.99

OR Buy it at for $9.99.

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