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ARK IN THE PARK by Wendy Orr


by Wendy Orr illustrated by Kerry Millard

Pub Date: June 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-8050-6221-1
Publisher: Henry Holt

This 1994 Australian first chapter book is sure to win many hearts on this end of the Pacific Rim. Mr. and Mrs. Noah own an extraordinary pet shop called The Noahs’ Ark. Built with glass sails and a unicorn figurehead, it is full of ponies and lambs and cats and dogs. The Noahs long for grandchildren—a difficulty since they do not have children—but they love their animals and enjoy their own lives. Seven-year-old Sophie gazes longingly at The Noahs’ Ark from her apartment window. She hasn’t any cousins, and her parents are very busy with their work and her younger twin siblings. But for her seventh birthday, she asks her parents just to visit the pet shop, and off they go. Her dad’s allergic, but he enjoys being behind the scenes; her mom likes talking to someone other than the twins; and Sophie is nearly delirious with joy. Soon Sophie learns to cross the road herself—her mom watches from the window—and she becomes the Noahs’ assistant, helping to feed and care for all the pets until they find their own homes. The magic of getting what you wish for is told in graceful prose full of gentleness and whimsy; the beguiling line drawings are full of amusing details that invite closer scrutiny, especially as they work their way in and out of the text. Satisfying and most charming. (Fiction. 7-9)