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
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.
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