NOAH BUILDS AN ARK, by Kate Banks, Illustrated by John Rocco, Candlewick Press MUST OWN


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.

approx. 40 pages

Out March 12, 2019


I received this book in exchange for my honest review.


John Rocco… absolutely a fantastic illustrator.  When I saw that he had illustrated Kate Banks new book, I knew I had to see it.

When I write my new children series, I hope I am as fortunate in finding an illustrator such as Rocco.

Every critter, every facial expression every butterfly flutter, or raise of an eyebrow drawn adds emotion to each page. Realistic and beautiful. The color applications, the details of characters… without comparison. The cover alone has two hummingbirds on it, gorgeous! When I saw the cover, I knew I’d found a treasure. But the big question here, and one I was a bit nervous to find the answer to, did the story do the illustrations justice. So I began reading…

OMG! I just want to hug Noah, tell him that I get him, tell him that he is extraordinary because of his compassion for those smaller and unable to protect themselves. This picture book retelling moved me.  Kate Banks takes a biblical story and modernizes it. She takes a realistic setting and places a tender, caring boy in its center, who is remarkable and compassionate… I loved him. I can see a child doing this.  There’s such a truth to this story.

Growing up, my dad taught us a lot of the outdoors. As a veteran of WWII, he saw horrific things while overseas, things that people did to each other without care. Places destroyed, animals killed. When he came home and started his own family, he made certain his children would not grow into adults like those he encountered during the war.  He taught us to appreciate this world and all the creatures in it.  He taught us respect, not just for each other, but for everything in this world.

“Everything has its purpose,” he would tell me. “Even the smallest and often ignored or never noticed. Before you kill it, ask yourself, who or what does this creature rely on? Does it have a purpose? Does it have a family? What would you do if someone you loved or relied on was carelessly swept aside just because it was thought not to matter?”

So when I read this book, I thought of my dad and saw him in Noah. The care the lad takes to ensure the safety of others, not humans, but creatures of this earth, the compassion he shows to the smallest and the importance he holds all life to, this is what we all should be teaching our children.

The author’s magnificent story, and Rocco’s artwork… This book deserves to win awards. I will be keeping this book on my shelves and everytime I open it, I’ll smile remembering when…

Thank you.

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