A storm is coming — a big one. How does a young urban boy prepare? A lovely allegorical story about ecology and caring inspired by the ancient tale of stewardship.
While his family readies his townhouse for an approaching storm, boarding up windows and laying in groceries, Noah heads to the back garden, where beetles are burrowing deeper into the bark and mice are stuffing their hole with moss. Quickly and efficiently, Noah sets to work building an ark for them and other backyard creatures — salamanders and toads, snakes and spiders, even brightly colored hummingbirds. Setting out fistfuls of nuts and leaves, berries and seeds, the boy props a flashlight inside and arranges some miniature furniture for the animals to sit or sleep on. “Come,” Noah whispers to his friends just as his mother calls him inside and the dark storm roars in. From an award-winning author and a Caldecott Honoree comes a quietly inspiring story about how taking action on behalf of our fellow earth travelers can help us face fearsome events.
Rocco’s meticulous paintings depict a brown-skinned family carefully preparing for the weather; the animals are not directly anthropomorphized, but compositions give a cozy sense of community. Bringing the beauty of and responsibility for nature to the city, this will win over readers with its parallel storytelling and appreciation for human- and nonhumankind alike. —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Those familiar with the original story will enjoy finding the parallels and omissions in Banks’s retelling; newcomers will find a satisfying tale about noticing and caring for wildlife, enhanced by Rocco’s naturalistic, detailed spreads. —Publishers Weekly
The story is an intriguing blend of the realistic and the fantastical…the notion of a dramatic storm, a clever construction, and a kindly rescue will have considerable kid appeal. Rocco’s pencil and watercolor illustrations lean more toward realism than in Blackout (BCCB 6/11), and he focuses with naturalistic precision on the enumerated animals. The fancy of animals afloat in their furnished little house is an enticing one, and Noah’s focus on his local creatures may encourage some youngsters to have a look at their own ecosystems. —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
Readers needn’t be familiar with the Bible story to appreciate Noah Builds an Ark. They needn’t even be animal lovers: they require only an appreciation for inspired tales of empathy and ingenuity. —Shelf Awareness for Readers
Rocco’s digitally enhanced pencil-and-watercolor illustrations are realistically rendered, appropriate to the story’s style, and feature rich earth tones. Most effective are the paired illustrations contrasting human and animal storm activities, including one scene in which the ark floats. A reassuring look at riding out the intense storms that seem to occur with increasing frequency. —Booklist Online