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Mrs Noah’s Pockets

Jackie Morris, illus. James Mayhew
Otter Barry books
Age 5-7 years

When Mr Noah decides to be quite selective about the animals he allows on his ark, Mrs Noah takes matters into her own hands.  She sets to work on her sewing machine making a brand-new coat with LOTS of very deep pockets. Then before the ark sets sail, she goes for a walk in the woods collecting the mythical animals her husband plans to leave behind.

A beautifully written and illustrated and subversive version of the traditional bible story.  


Share the story

Read aloud
Before you start sharing the story you might want to talk about the story of Noah’s Ark (see link below with a retelling).

Read the story aloud to your child pausing to talk about what is happening in the story and the illustrations.

Join in
When your child is familiar with the story, they might like to join in with the reading. For example, reading Mr Noah’s thoughts and words or you could take turns reading the lines on the opening pages when the rain comes and when Mrs Noah watches Mr Noah make plans.  

Adult: falling hard and fast Child: beating the earth etc.

Adult: She saw the plans. Child: She watched as he worked etc

Talk about the story

  • Share favourite lines in the story and favourite illustrations

  • Talk about the decisions the characters made in the story – Mr Noah deciding to get rid of ‘troublesome’ creatures and Mrs Noah deciding to save them.

  • In the original story Mr Noah is the main character making the decisions, sharing this book might lead to discussions about the role of women and girls in history and traditional stories.

  • What might Mr Noah say when he finds the creatures he tried to get rid of still exist? You pretend to be Mr Noah and Mrs Noah and have an imaginary conversation.

Watch the story read aloud by Jackie Morris, the author here: 

Things to make and do

Make a book of mythical animals
Mrs Noah saved several mythical animals, including unicorns, dragons and griffins. Make a zig zag book for your child to draw illustrations of them. You could write some information together too ( see links below).

Make up a story together
Mrs Noah told her children stories about unicorns, dragons and other mythical creatures. Try making up one together one or more of the mythical animals. Children could decide which animals are in the story and you could take turns  

Make a rainy-day picture
Look together at the rainy day pictures in the book and make your own. You could try with crayon or paint or draw lines, dashes and dots with a candle on paper and then paint with well diluted blue paint or ink.

Be a weather spotter
Keep a weather diary, or make a weather chart, and count how many days it rains in a week/ month. If there is a very rainy day, collect rainwater in a jam jar or measuring jug, and see how many centimetres of rain has fallen.

Find out more

Listen to a version of the original Noah’s Ark story here

Find out more about weather and climate change
Find out about different types of weather, using the internet and information books. Talk about the difference between a shower and torrential rain that causes floods.

Talk about climate change 
Talk about things people have done to make floods more frequent. Is  there anything we can do to stop this happening? Find out about global warming and deforestation 

See Just for Kids: What’s Climate Change? And What Can I Do? 

See our top ten picture books with girl power 

Find out about the mythical animals Mrs Noah saved from the ark 

See here for information about jackalopes 

Read more books written by Jackie Morris Titles include:

Mrs Noah’s Garden also illustrated by James Mayhew, The Secret of the Tattered Shoes illustrated by Ehsan Abdollahi and The White Fox
Jackie Morris is also the illustrator of many books including the highly acclaimed Lost Words with Roger McFarlane

Read more books by James Mayhew  James has written and illustrated Koshka’s Tales (stories from Russia) and the Katie series including Katie and the Dinosaurs  and Katie and the Starry Night. He has illustrated many books including Gaspard the Fox written by Zeb Soanes.