Review: All Aboard For Noah's Ark

All Aboard for Noah's Ark

by Elana Azose, illustrated by Monica Garofalo

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2024

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Rachel J. Fremmer

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All Aboard for Noah’s Ark takes the traditional Bible story and shifts the focus to how every creature, even the smallest, prickliest one, has a role to play and shouldn’t be underestimated. Noah dismisses the hedgehogs Lionel and Dolores’s offers to help. Instead, he asks the more stereotypically large, strong, and wise animals, but, we are told, each of them in turn, “didn’t know how to help” or was otherwise occupied. Rather than be discouraged, Lionel and Dolores take the initiative, sending out invitations to animals from around the globe and preparing meals to feed everyone on board. With a cheerful colorful palette, adorable, not-always-realistically-colored animals, and an aging Noah with white hair and purple robes, this trip on the ark feels a bit like a cruise, with “fun activities during the day and entertainment every night.” The ominous rising of the waters is dealt with swiftly and reassuringly and in the end, it is of course Lionel and Dolores who come up with a plan to make sure everyone gets back to their correct home. This is a sweet take on the Noah story, emphasizing that everyone - even the youngest children who are the audience for this book - has the ability to help. The book is based on a story from the Tanakh but does not have any explicitly religious or Jewish content beyond that origin.

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Rachel J. Fremmer is a lawyer-turned-elementary-school librarian. She is a native-and-forever New Yorker and lives there with her husband and two daughters, ages 18 and 16, who are rapidly outgrowing her area of book expertise. She is continually inspired by the city even though apartment living means she is running out of room for her picture book collection. She was selected by PJ Library for their inaugural Picture Book Summer Camp for Emerging Writers. When she is not reading or writing, she is baking or doing crossword puzzles.