Next book


The story of Noah’s ark is told in rhyming verse that doesn’t quite sing. To the traditional story the author adds details that readers will appreciate—the ark was made of Cypress wood with three decks, and he even describes where many of the animals chose to live while on board. Wind and rain are anthropomorphized with personal pronouns and illustrations of their “faces.” With words such as stout, preferred, slithered, torrents, haven, and disembark, the author introduces new vocabulary to his readers, using context to make meanings clear. Unfortunately, the verses are not consistent in their rhyming pattern, leading to a choppy feel and breaking up the rhythm of the story. Several of the lines seem forced, as if he chose words for the number of syllables or rhyme pattern rather than for their fit. For example, after listing the individual animals loaded onto the ark, he names the generic and all-inclusive “bugs” to complete a rhyme with “slugs.” Newcomer Ferri’s soft-edged pictures are sweetly simple. His people are block figures, but their faces are full of emotion. The animals are easily recognizable—basic forms without a lot of competing details. The colors reflect the moods of the pages: soft greens and warm reds fill the illustrations of Noah and the animals; cool, angry blues dominate the pages that detail the people’s wickedness and the flood. It’s too bad the text doesn’t live up to the illustrations. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2001

ISBN: 1-84148-361-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barefoot Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2001

Next book


This biblical tale is filled with wonder, hope, and beauty.

Miriam is pivotal in the story of Moses and the Exodus.

A 7-year-old girl narrates the details of the day that she heeds “God’s voice,” places her baby brother in a basket, sets him adrift in the Nile River to save him from “Pharoah’s men,” and then watches as Pharoah’s daughter rescues him. That baby boy will grow up to be Moses, and his sister is the prophet Miriam. In her author’s note, Yolen explains that she has taken this story from Exodus and from the Midrash, tales that interpret the Torah. Miriam’s story is interwoven with miracles associated with water, ranging from that basket on the Nile to the parting of the Red Sea and the life-giving water flowing from a rock that sustains the Jews wandering in the desert, but there are relatively few children’s books that place her at their center. Many celebrants of the Passover Seder sing a song honoring Miriam and will welcome a book that celebrates her childhood. It is Le’s illustrations that truly shine, however. The vibrant blues and oranges reflect both calm and swirling waters dotted with a multitude of plant life. Elegant storks wade in the water as hippos and crocodiles swim nearby.

This biblical tale is filled with wonder, hope, and beauty. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-4400-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

Next book


Nelson uses the old spiritual—offered here, astonishingly, in its first singleton, illustrated edition, though it’s available in many collections—as a springboard to celebrate family togetherness. Each line of a four-verse version of the lyric captions an intimate scene of an African-American lad, three sibs (one, lighter-skinned, perhaps adopted) and two parents in various combinations, posing together in both city (San Francisco) and country settings, sharing “the moon and the stars,” “the wind and the clouds,” “the oceans and the seas,” and so on. Sandwiched between views of, more or less, the whole world, Nelson alternates finished paintings in his characteristic strong, bold style with authentically childlike crayon drawings done with his left hand—demonstrating a superb ability to evoke both grand and naïve effects. Moving, reverent, spiritual indeed. (musical arrangement to close) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2005

ISBN: 978-0-8037-2850-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2005

Close Quickview