Review: There's a Goblin on the Ark!

There's a Goblin on the Ark!

by Susan Tarcov, illustrated by Mackinzie Rekers

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Shanna Silva
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There’s A Goblin on the Ark! is a new picture book twist on the Noah’s Ark biblical story. Told from the animals’ point of view, it’s the first night on the ark and the animals are settling in. Strange noises keep them awake. As they try to identify the source through a pleasing rhyming of animal sounds, it becomes clear that the sound is coming from a lone goblin. Although initially afraid, the animals realize the goblin is just another passenger looking for its mate. A search ensues to help the goblin. By the end, everyone is comfortable on the ark as the rain pelts outside. An author’s note explains that a traditional interpretation of the text surmises that goblins were indeed on the ark. Tarcov has fun exploring this story’s possibilities.
The art by Rekers features expressive animal faces and a successful conveyance of the five senses. The illustrations complement the text. Children will enjoy reading along and making the animal sounds. Noah and his family are not missed in this telling.

The story has literary merit and positive, authentic Jewish content. Jewish values of helping others and welcoming strangers are expressed well. There is also the welcome and relevant message that we can extend understanding to those who are different by focusing on similarities rather than differences. This book meets the criteria for the Sydney Taylor Book Award.

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Reviewer Shanna Silva is an award-winning author and Broadway producer. She has written over 50 children’s books for the trade and educational markets, including three picture books: A Dog’s Guide to Being Human, Hannah’s Hanukkah Hiccups and Passover Scavenger Hunt. Her work has been featured in Kveller, Bella Magazine, Twins Magazine, Multiples Illuminated I and II, and Chicken Soup for the Soul. Shanna lives in New York with her family and a meshuggenah sheepadoodle named Drake.