In an adaptation of the popular Bible story, readers meet Mrs. Noah, who has sewn deep pockets into her coat as Mr. Noah prepares the ark.
Many readers will already be familiar with the Abrahamic tale of Noah. In this version, the story shows Noah in a rather more fallible light: Not only is Mr. Noah making a list of animals that shall be spared, but he also sees the crisis as an “ideal time to get rid of those more troublesome creatures.” However, Mrs. Noah has another plan in mind. As Noah goes to work on the “biggest boat the world has ever seen,” Mrs. Noah gets out her sewing machine and begins to stitch a coat with the deepest pockets the world will ever know. As the storm rages, the children believe they see things moving in Mrs. Noah’s deep pockets. Luckily, Mrs. Noah is able to keep it all together until the ark finally returns to land, when she’s able to lift these misunderstood creatures out of her pocket and into freedom on the new land. Depicting characters of various skin tones (Mrs. Noah is brown while Mr. Noah is pale), Mayhew’s flowing, vivid mixed-media illustrations give this book a warm texture all its own.
With themes relevant to today’s international struggles over exclusion, scarcity, and prejudice, this reinvention is a beautiful and necessary parable for our time. (Picture book/religion. 4-8)