In this charming extension of a well-known Bible story, Noah, Na’ama, and the family must discover what chameleons feed on.
Translated from the Hebrew, the folk tale begins during the 40-day rainstorm as Noah and the family cheerfully brave the trying conditions. In a refreshing departure, Molchadsky chooses to highlight Noah’s wife, Na’ama, in a central role, departing from so many retellings that relegate everyone but Noah to the background. The visually and warmly surprising multiethnic family, representing many shades and skin colors, attempts to keep the matching animals happy and well-fed yet are befuzzled by the two chameleons, who stare mournfully but do not eat. The mystery commences, sending the family searching throughout the seemingly limitless ark for a suitable meal for the wasting chameleons. Only when they realize that the fruit bins are threatened by worms do they come to a solution: “with a flick and flash,” the chameleon takes care of both problems. Lightheartedly, Noah and Na’ama make sure to find space for even the worms to flourish, leaving readers to remember that “everything and everyone has a place under the sun.” Bergman’s folk-art–style paintings are colorful and textured, investing all the ark’s passengers with great personality—even those worms.
This delightful narrative balances respect for tradition with inviting, accessible storytelling; a very well-executed debut for children and an appealing addition to family reading time. (Picture book. 4-8)