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THE ANIMALS AND THE ARK by Karla Kuskin Kirkus Star


by Karla Kuskin & illustrated by Michael Grejniec

Age Range: 6 - 8

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-83095-5
Publisher: Atheneum

With vibrant, large-scale watercolors on rough-textured paper, Grejniec (From Anne to Zach, 1996, etc.) adds new zip to bouncy stanzas first published in 1958 with the now-veteran Kuskin’s own illustrations. Having worked frantically to finish the ark before the rain arrives, Noah and family invite aboard “every single kind of beast / from moose to goose / from most to least.” But after long, boring days at sea, the animals grow understandably fretful. The bright color scheme changes with every turn of the page, and so does the presentation of the text; deftly incorporated into each scene, lines run in long ripples from top to bottom or break into short bits to be tucked in wherever they fit—but never at the expense of legibility or smooth, natural reading. The on-board turmoil climaxes in a double fold-out: “when the fighting and crying were awful and fearful and all the small animals seemed to be tearful, / when Noah was helpless and so was his crew, / At Precisely THAT MOMENT / the sun broke through!” And that, Kuskin concludes, “is the end of the poem. / They all got up and they all went home.” Despite the plethora of picture-story Noahs, this should make a big splash. (Picture book/folktale. 6-8)