Thursday, August 27, 2009

Noah's Ark

Noah's Ark
Peter Spier ~ Doubleday, 1977

As mentioned previously, you all know my son is an animal freak, so it comes with the territory that we would have to possess every Noah's Ark title we come in contact with. Hands down though, this is the favorite. It's awesome because it is Peter Spier and he is known for his realism, and more than any of his books, this one cuts right to the heart. A story told without words (except a reprint of a Dutch poem called "The Float" written in the 1600s by Jacobus Revius), the imagery is pretty hard core. From the beginning, it's obvious this isn't your usual ark story.

On page two, we see all the animals gathering. In a hoard of flies, Noah turns them all away except for the required two. A few pages later, the actual left-behind animals are leg deep in flood waters looking at the ark longingly. In the next illustration, they are gone. As the flood waters rise, the animal dung builds, Noah visibly worries and tensions rise.

When Noah finally releases the dove and it returns, Noah and his wife embrace on the deck, and in one of my favorite moments, Noah leans in to give a hungry cow the olive branch. Though I was raised Episcopalian, as an adult I am not hugely religious, but still, you'd have to be dead of heart not to be moved by the telling of the story. I'm gonna use the word breathtaking here and know, it wasn't written lightly.

Through God's hand,
Who forgave,
And did save.


As the doors open and all the animals pour off, it becomes obvious that during the year they've been on the ark, the animals have definitely been getting busy... you can't even count how many rabbits there are. Awesome.

Also by:
The Fox Went Out On a Chilly Evening
The Star-Spangled Banner
Peter Spier's Christmas
Gobble Growl Grunt
Rain
Little Bible Storybooks
Bored -- Nothing To Do!

5 comments:

Antmusic said...

I like it!. The illustrations remind me of Bill Peet mixed with Quentin Blake. I recently picked up a (quite odd) Noah's Ark book by Mordicai Gerstein called "Noah and the Great Flood." Beautiful oil-on-vellum paintings throughout it, but the story is not your traditional Noah's Ark story (I think there are some legends or other non-traditional/non-biblical stories mixed in).

Jonathan said...

I love this one. My grandparents gave it to me when I was a little girl, and it's now in my son's library. The pictures speak volumes!

Jonathan's Mom

Lady of Letters said...

The illustrations look wonderful!

emadethis said...

I picked up a copy of this at a used book store a while back myself. I love Peter Spier and this book is particularly gorgeous out of all of his.

Eugen Slavik said...

I am not a fan of Noah story, but this one... :))

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