"Today the greatest challenge in publishing is distribution and discoverability. As a result, sites like [PictureBooksReview] are more important than ever to discerning readers, new authors and independent publishers."
-Steve Floyd, chief executive officer of August House books

"The interview is so amazing! I appreciate you picking up on all these aspects of what I've been doing. It's always great to talk with someone who understands what goes into these things."

- Jose Lucio, self-published author of Heave Ho!


Noah's Ark (2002)

Written and Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney

Pencil, colored pencils, watercolors

Book design by Jerry Pinkney and Atha Tehon

Chronicle Books

An incredible book by Jerry Pinkney, and gives a fair and beautiful interpretation of the Noah's Ark myth found in Genesis. I'm always dismayed by the saccharine take many writers seem to strive toward, as though the whole ordeal was just a giggle and... oh, look at those cute puppy dogs!

Pinkney lays out the grimness of the scenario with the first line of text: "God was not pleased with the people of the earth." He presents a barren landscape in which black smoke plumes from a distant city.

Noah, however, does not live in the city. He is seen gathering berries with his family out in the woods, when his head cocked, as though receiving a message from an invisible source.

For the next several pages, Noah and his family construct the ark, but it is only when the animals begin to arrive that we get the full force of Pinkney's talent. He captures the chaos of their movement, their body language, their craned necks and their attempts to not be trampled underfoot by their brothers and sisters, in just one painting.

Then: rain.

The water rose over cities and towns. Whales swam down ruined streets. Schools of fish darted through empty windows.

I actually found that to be the most inspired and creative sequence in the book, as large humpbacks navigate over submerged cities. The entire world is now their environment, and they prosper.

Meanwhile, back on the ark, Noah lets fly his raven and his dove. The humpbacks are seen in the distance bounding out of the waters as the dove returns with its olive branch to Noah's outstretched hand.

And God set a rainbow in the heavens as a sign of this promise to Noah and to Noah's family and to every living thing.

Noah is last seen tilling the fields with his oxen, while his sons and their families journey out, each in a different direction, to populate the earth once more.

In the final painting, Pinkney takes a step back and presents the planet earth hovering in space, covered in rainbows and thick clouds.

Seedtime and harvest, cold and heat. Summer and winter, night and day, shall never cease as long as the earth endures.

1 comment:

  1. Good to know about a book like this, as I find it terribly difficult to locate well-crafted religious children's literature for my girls. I love the passage you pulled out about the schools of fish swimming through empty windows.

    Incidentally, in our home we have a Little People Noah's Ark toy set which you're probably familiar with. It's cute, my toddler likes it, and the animals are highly gnaw-able for the baby. However, despite all the pairs of animals, it only came with one human: Noah. Meanwhile, we were given a gift set of Little People dinosaurs, which came with two triceratops and one human: a cavegirl. As you can guess, they wind up in the ark quite often. And it is the funniest thing to me.

    It is SO hard to raise kids without sarcasm, sometimes.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...