Review: If I Lived with Noah

If I Lived with Noah by Pamela Moritz, illustrated by MacKenzie Haley

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Belinda Brock

This playful twist on the Bible story of Noah and the Ark is told in rhyme that children will enjoy listening to and adults will find fun to read. As the book opens, a young boy is comforting his stuffed animals as they all shelter under a blanket tent during a fierce rainstorm. He begins to tell his animals a story, inviting them (and the reader) to imagine themselves seeking passage on Noah’s Ark. The book goes on to relate the story of their successful voyage.

Although this is a simple story that preschoolers will like, many discussion-worthy themes run through this book: how to connect, collaborate, contribute, and communicate during challenging times. In fact, while not intentional, this book offers timely lessons for periods of quarantine. Of course, all is not work on this voyage—time is also devoted to the clever ways the boy and the animals figure out how to play and exercise.

Colorful and appealing art complement the sweet text—the animals onboard Noah’s Ark look just like the boy’s stuffed animal friends. The book’s style, vocabulary, format, and illustrations are all designed to be appropriate for its intended audience of three to six year-olds.

As far as diversity goes, most of the characters are animals. But this is a diverse group of animals and certainly, kindness and inclusion rule the day. The young boy has pale skin and Noah is olive-complected.

The author’s note adds Jewish content to this Bible story by discussing the importance of mitzvot, such as being loving to animals and to one another.

If I Lived with Noah meets the criteria to be considered for the Sydney Taylor book award.

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Belinda Brock earned a MS in Literacy and Language from University of Chicago and her background is in teaching and educational publishing. She authored GG and Mamela, the first children’s book to address hospice care. Her essays have been featured on Kveller, Jewish Women’s Archive, and HuffPost. She has a picture book biography being released in 2022.