Monday, February 21, 2011

Noah's Ark Books for Children

I wasn't someone who "collected" Noah's Ark items.  I just loved the old European style carved ark sets and set out to make some of my own. But now that I've become an ark maker I have acquired a few Noah's Ark picture books.  I confess that I'm a book hound.  I may even need therapy. (Doesn't everyone have a 30' long, 8' tall book case?)  The BL Hubby seems to think this vice a minor one and I think it beats psychotherapy.

Most of the books I've acquired lately have come via thrift stores or the bargain bins at Books a Million.  At my favorite thrift stores I think I see a lot of what children don't want in books.  I can always find several copies of at least two different versions of Noah's Ark books that look like they were done for some Sunday School or a church class for kids.  They have badly drawn cartoon illustrations and the text isn't very inspiring either.  No wonder they end up discarded.  (In the central Arkansas area I see tons of religious books for children in the thrift stores.  We must be giving kids a bunch of them.)  Here are three editions that I have that I love.  By no means should these be considered the only or even the best editions but they are three great ones.
This won a Caldecott Honor book for 2002.  Jerry Pinkney is so amazing I can't give enough love for his work.  I want ALL his picture books and I'm glad I snagged this one for cheap.  Pinkney works in watercolors, and colored pencils and I think his work has an "old masters" feel.  The story is faithful to the biblical version and starts and ends on the book end papers.  See the front end paper two page spread of  "in the beginning" below.
I always think of his work as full of color but most of this book is in subdued tans.
 If you could only have one Noah's Ark book I would get this one. 

Jan Brett is another heavyweight in the picture book world.  She's created a grandson for Noah and we see the story through his eyes. I love Brett's animals.  They are illustrative and child friendly but realistically beautiful.  My favorite style of animal.

Brett and her husband went to Botswana where she saw, in their native habitat, many of the animals she drew for the book.  Her style is well known for the book pages having elaborate borders that complement the drawings and the borders here are painted to look like the paper made from papyrus, also influenced by her African trip.

This gem I almost missed!  At one of my thrift shopping ventures one of the BL kids brought this to my attention as "I know this isn't your kind of art but it's a Noah's Ark book".  Wormell is a well know English wood block engraver.  This book is done in lino-cut prints.  They are spare and graphic and amazing.

His text lists the animals as opposites.  The small opposite the large, fast opposite slow, etc.  At the back of the book there is information about each pictured animal.  If you know a young animal lover this one would be a treat.

His images are so stunning!  I can see these framed in a modern baby nursery.  The above image I would love framed for my spaces.

Anyone know of any other wonderful illustrated Noah's Ark books?  I've still got shelf space. 



  1. I adore anything Jan Brett - she's amazing. I'm loving the one from Wormell, too. So different.

  2. Hello,

    The above books are so nice, Jan Brett is about animals life and their relations with friends. Kids always get some nice fillings and thoughts to share with friends and family. Thanks a lot.

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