Noah and the Ark

Noah and the Ark
Pauline Baynes
Holt, 1988

Really? Do we need another Noah’s Ark book? Maybe you don’t. But I’m always looking for books that tell the old stories faithfully – and while I love Peter Spiers’ version, sometimes I don’t really feel up to a wordless book. Pauline Baynes’ version, with its engrossing illustrations and text from the Revised Standard Version, fits those days perfectly.

The most remarkable thing about Noah and the Ark is, of course, the illustrations. You can just sit and pore over them – they’re that engrossing, full of fascinating little details. (Can you find the seasick person on the ark?) The animals are vivid, in motion, wild – and yet willing to be shepherded onto the ark. When they burst out at the end, you can feel the pent-up energy and sheer joy of encountering dry land again. Noah offers a burnt sacrifice, and as his family gives praise to God, it’s unclear which emotion dominates: thanksgiving for deliverance, or the creature’s awed beseeching of the Creator never to undo his work again. When the sign in the heavens comes on the last page, the grace is palpable.

And be warned: this book illustrates the true story. No Noah Problem here. As the waters rise, people cluster on hillocks, pleading with the sky. The animals left behind flee to the treetops in terror. And bodies are floating all around, while the Ark floats impassively nearby. It’s a sober and solemn vision, but it’s the Biblical one. This is a book of true pictures: on the days when I feel up to it, even with the Biblical text, I just might read it as a wordless book.

NB: This book is out of print as well, so the usual advice about buying used, emailing Hearts and Minds, and hitting up the library stands.

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

MosesMoses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom
Carole Boston Weatherford & Kadir Nelson
Hyperion, 2006

This review is a little late for Martin Luther King Jr. Day (which was yesterday), but that doesn’t mean you should wait another year before tracking this wonderful book down. I happened to stumble upon it in the MLK Jr. display at the San Francisco Central Library, and was so delighted that I sat down and read the whole thing right there. And took it home to share with my kids, as well.

Moses is a re-telling of Harriet Tubman’s first flight to freedom, and her eventual resolve to save as many fellow enslaved African Americans as possible. Her story is profoundly moving, and there are a number of good biographies (picture and otherwise) out there. Two things set this marvelous picture book apart, however.

In the first place, Harriet’s entire journey hangs on the frame of an ongoing conversation with God. Harriet speaks to God, and God speaks right back. He gives her His mandate for her freedom (“I set the North Star in the heavens, and I mean for you to be free”) and helps her minutely along the way. Her superhuman courage and conviction are revealed to be just that:

And Harriet heeds God’s call, goes south again and again, keeps her bands of runaways moving – come storms and rough country – clear to Canada: Canaanland. And when free souls sing her praises, she gives glory where it is due. It wasn’t me. It was the Lord. I always trust Him to lead me, and He always does.

My daughter is in kindergarten this year, and this month she is hearing about Dr Martin Luther King, Jr in school. She’s getting her first introduction to the tragic sin of racism that has festered at our nation’s heart since its inception. I’m so grateful to have happened upon a book that testifies to God’s heart at a real moment in history. In the middle of the evil system of human enslavement, God was resolutely on the side of justice and liberation, and his mighty work was channeled through a powerless slave woman. If this is the history of how God acts, what can we say about his heart today towards the millions who are enslaved and trafficked around the world?

The second thing that instantly won me to this book is the artwork by Kadir Nelson. We’ve reviewed another of his books, and the more time I spend with his work, the more I love it. There is so much soul and life and rich emotion in Harriet’s face, and always a soft light shining upon it – or more accurately, from within it. He may not be Rembrandt, but I can’t help thinking he’s learned a bit about the use of light from the Master. Nowhere in the book – except for her first day in Philadelphia – does Harriet look happy, but in every portrait she looks grimly, fiercely committed, alive, and beautiful.

I love that this book’s story is so deeply theological and Incarnational. God acted, and continues to act in history, and his pattern is uncomfortably plain: pouring himself into what is weak and broken in order to act mightily on its behalf. He did it for all of humanity in Jesus, and in a smaller way he did it for a group of cruelly enslaved human beings in the life of Harriet Tubman. As our children grow, and become increasingly able to understand this truth, I hope that books like this will ask them: how does God want to work in you?

The Clown of God

The Clown of God
Tomie dePaola
Harcourt Brace, 1978

I’ve loved The Clown of God for a long, long time. I remember checking it out from the library over and over as a child. Before I had kids – and thus, before I had any sense about what a new mom might need – I always gave this book to friends with new babies. But I never really thought of it as “theological.” Then I read it to my daughter last week, and changed my mind, and am dying to share it with you.

Regular readers of this blog will know by now that we love Tomie de Paola. The Clown of God is a classic example of his work: a moving story, simply told and lovingly illustrated in his iconic style. I’ll never get enough of dePaola’s drawing. In this book, he manages to be warm, tender, and witty while evoking the austere beauty of early Renaissance Italy. Honestly – and this is rare for me – I’m happy to sit and turn the pages with a child on my lap, just taking in the pictures.

Giovanni is a small street urchin who has a talent for juggling. He begins performing with a traveling troupe, and his skill takes him up and down Italy, bringing delight to crowds, dukes, and even a prince or two. Along the way he meets two Franciscan friars, who tell him that since his juggling brings joy it glorifies God as well.

“If you say so!” said Giovanni, laughing.

As far as he’s concerned, the juggling is simply to make the crowds applaud and cheer.

But Giovanni ages, his juggling becomes an old and uninteresting act, and the applause turns to jeers. He takes off his clown costume and becomes a beggar again, just as he was when a child. Then one night, he stumbles into a church where people are bringing gifts to the Holy Child: and he realizes that he, too, has a gift to give.

I love the way this story suggests God’s delight in all of our offerings, when they’re given with love. Does an offering have to be “religious,” or serious, or quietly given in church? What about our skills, our talents, the ways in which we each bring beauty and joy into the world? Is it possible that God takes delight when we give others joy? And that he continues to take delight, even when our offerings don’t meet with the world’s approval?

I want my children to have generous, joyful imaginations; to see their very being as a delightful gift from God, to the world, and back to God; and to look with God’s eyes and take joy in the offerings of others. Spending some time with the Clown of God isn’t a bad way to start.

The Jesus Storybook Bible


Jesus Storybook BibleThe Jesus Storybook Bible

Sally Lloyd-Jones and Jago
Zonderkidz, 2007

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write this review. We’ve had a copy of The Jesus Storybook Bible since my (now 5-year-old) daughter was two, and she and I have read it from cover to cover at least twice. I guess I’m just wary of recommending story Bibles in general (not that it’s stopped me before!), because none is theologically sufficient on its own. It’s probably best to own a couple – in our house, it’s the JSB and The Big Picture Story Bible) – and let them complement one another, with lots of actual Scripture being read alongside. But I want to go on record and apologize for not including this book in Aslan’s Library sooner. I’ve planned to, ever since we started the blog. And I’d love to see others get their hands on this little gem.

I was won over the first time I picked it up and read, on the very second page, “But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.” Each story recounted in the JSB emphasizes what God is doing at that moment, as well as how each episode reflects God’s ongoing work of redemption that will culminate in Jesus. I especially love how Sally Lloyd-Jones honors the real history that happens in the Old Testament, and still captures the provisional, waiting, not-yet-fulfilled sense of longing that pervades Israel’s story.

The overarching metaphor is that God is telling a Story, and – joyfully! – it is a true fairy tale in which the Prince rescues his beloved and takes her home.  If that sounds too squishy or romantic to you, bear in mind just how stern and dangerous the best fairy tales and fantasies are. This is not a Disneyfied Jesus. In fact, I think “story” is a great metaphor for children to work with. They intuitively love a good story and know how stories work; small children are also especially good at imagining themselves in stories. And that’s the life of discipleship, really: waking up from our slumber to find that we’re in God’s story, and we had better figure out our part.

While the theological emphasis is tight and focused, the prose maintains a loose, breezy tone. It’s really best for reading aloud, I’ve found: most of the stories are told in a witty, conversational tone that adapts well to a parent willing to get into it. The account of the Crucifixion is somber, rich, and moving. And honestly? The scene when Jesus arrives in the Upper Room after his resurrection is worth the price of the book. (“I’m hungry,” Jesus said. “What’s for lunch?”) I really appreciate Ms. Lloyd-Jones’ ability to capture how the Biblical story moves from the tragic to the comic to the utterly joyful.

This would be a fabulous little book to pick up with your child during Lent, since every story looks forward to when Jesus will finally come and make things right. It captures the hope of the season well: God is active now, and God is coming to rescue us.

A quick note on usage: my daughter and I began reading the JSB out loud when she was about 3 1/2. She was too small, really. So for a year or so, we mostly read The Big Picture Story Bible, which I adore. She’s 5 now, and can read The Big Picture Story Bible to herself.  The JSB is now our primary read-aloud alongside narrative passages of Scripture and a children’s psalter. While the illustrations are fabulous, it’s got pretty long sections of text, so if your child has trouble sitting for long stretches you might want to wait. Most children will need to be strong middle grade readers to read it alone.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Brother Sun, Sister Moon
Katherine Paterson and Pamela Dalton
Chronicle Books, 2011

According to tradition, Francis of Assisi composed The Canticle of the Sun (or Laudes Creaturarum, “praise of the creatures”) toward the end of his life, around 1224. Written in the Umbrian dialect – rather than church Latin – it is a beautiful song praise to God for the glory of his creation. Its simple, earthy images drawn in a common language are a reminder that regardless of social station, we all are created beings, dependent like the rest of nature on the care of a good and loving God.

Brother Sun, Sister Moon is a “reimagining” of Francis’ song by Katherine Paterson, illustrated with absolutely gorgeous cut-paper images by Pamela Dalton. Seriously: these may be my favorite illustrations yet for a book we’ve reviewed on this blog. They are rich in detail, warm, peaceful, and inviting. Somehow they capture the song’s vision of humans living in bountiful harmony with nature, husbanding it together for the common good as we were created to do.

The song itself, as rendered by Ms. Paterson, praises God for our “brothers” and “sisters” in the created order: the sun, moon, stars, wind, water, fire and earth, as well as for human beings who live as peacemakers and grace-givers. Each of these reveals something about God himself, and bears his image stamped on its created being. It is a marvelous example as theology-in-prayer: Francis sees God revealed in nature, praises him for it, and in that prayer teaches us about God, too. My favorite passage in this vein, then:

We praise you for Sister Water, who fills the seas and rushes down the rivers – who wells up from the earth and falls down from heaven – who gives herself that all living things may grow and be nourished.

On the same page, the picture is framed by two large trees planted by streams of water (Psalm 1): as we see the trees nourished by the gift of water, we understand that we too are nourished by a self-giving God who poured himself out like water — and we are able to praise him for his gift of self and water with greater thankfulness. It is this sort of simple yet deeply rich imagery that makes this book a valuable piece of theological literature.

The last gift for which Francis thanks God – and which, according to legend, he added to the song on his deathbed – is for “our Sister Death, who will usher us at last into your loving presence, where we will know and love you as you have always known and loved us.” Now it’s true, theologically, that death is an enemy destroyed by Christ and a punishment for sin: so what’s with the Sister imagery? Well, for the Christian, death is no longer something to be feared; though intended for our destruction, it too has become God’s handmaiden, delivering the faithful safely into the presence of Christ. And again, the illustrations! On this page, a small boy and girl sorrowfully bury a small pet, surrounded by an explosion of butterflies – that ancient symbol of resurrection. Again, we are reminded that for the believer, death is nothing but the doorway to true life.

Lastly, some readers may find Paterson’s rendering of the final lines of prayer off-putting: “For this life and the life to come, we sing our praise to you, O Lord, the Father and Mother of all creation.” Taken in context, this is no denial of God’s Fatherhood; it is the simple recognition of God as the Parent of all creation and the image of all created fatherly and motherly care. The Old Testament uses both images to talk about God’s providential care, and it’s a lovely acknowledgement of just how deeply encompassing that love is.

This is a simply lovely book, suitable for reading aloud as a family or for individual poring over. If your child has a quiet corner or space where you keep devotional books, this would be a worthy addition. I think it will be appearing at our house on one of the twelve days of Christmas this year!

The Christmas Troll

The Christmas Troll
Eugene Peterson & Will Terry
NavPress, 2004

Christmas is about the Incarnation; we all know that.  But I’m going to venture a guess that gift-giving is part of how your family celebrates Christmas Day.  My family does, at least, and I think it’s a perfectly fine tradition.  As we reflect in gratitude on the Father’s extravagant love in sending his Son for us, it seems right to express our own love for family, friends, and neighbors in tangible ways.

Of course, gifts can become the exclusive focus of Christmas Day (or even the entire month), and we would do well to avoid that pitfall.  With the right perspective, though, giving and receiving gifts can be a very meaningful part of a Christ-centered celebration.  Lucky for us, several years ago Eugene Peterson wrote a book that creatively articulates for children a sort of theology of gift-receiving.  Even luckier for us, the book is masterfully illustrated by artist Will Terry.

The Christmas Troll tells the story of a brother and sister duo who run away from home because their parents won’t let them open any of their presents before Christmas morning.  They escape to a nearby forest and end up meeting, to their surprise, a troll. First, they’re scared out of their wits (well, at least the big brother is).  Then they notice how very ugly the troll is .  In the end, though, he turns out to be quite a nice chap who shows them a good time and in the process turns their attitudes upside down.

As they enjoy the troll’s company the siblings realize the truth of their parents insistence that gifts are not for “grabbing and getting,” but that the best gifts are surprises that are freely given and joyfully accepted.  Here’s my favorite line in the book:

It’s wise to live life expectantly, alert to the surprises of God.

It’s a message that’s clearly ripe for Advent and Christmas.  We need to know how to think rightly about how receiving gifts, not just from one another but also from God.  It’s right to expect that God will give us good gifts, but our posture toward him should never be demanding.  Our attitudes should reflect deep gratitude for his grace, not self-entitlement.

In addition, Peterson wants to help us realize that sometimes God’s gifts don’t look quite like we expect them to.  If we have a very particular definition of what constitutes a good gift, we are going to miss out on many of God’s gifts because we might not recognize them as a gift at all.  Each of us could tell of things in our lives that, like the troll, we almost failed to recognize because our eyes weren’t open to the surprises of God.  Essentially, that’s what this story is about: opening our eyes to God’s surprising gifts.   The beauty of it is the way it can equally teach us about God’s way of working in our lives, Jesus (who was and is unrecognized by many), and how to graciously receive a funky gift from a relative.  I warmly commend it to your family.

Dangerous Journey


Dangerous JourneyDangerous Journey

arranged by Oliver Hunkin, illus. Alan Parry
Eerdmans, 1985

It’s almost upon us, friends. Advent begins in less than two weeks, and here at Aslan’s Library we’ve been thinking about books and resources your family might want to use during the upcoming season of waiting and preparation. And let’s face it, most of us are thinking about what we might want to present our children with during our Christmas celebrations, too.

For each of those purposes, let me heartily recommend Dangerous Journey, a version of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress that has been illustrated and abridged for children. Some of you may remember it from your own childhoods: my father-in-law used to read it to my husband and his siblings at bedtime. It has stood the test of time, and is simply wonderful for reading aloud as a family or for older, more advanced readers to explore on their own.

The text itself is Bunyan’s, selected and abridged into short episodes. It retains, then, all of Bunyan’s wit, earnestness, and the careful crafting of phrase that have made the original book such a landmark in English literature. It is the allegory (or “dream,” as Bunyan described it) of the pilgrim Christian and his journey to the Celestial City, and all of the perils that attend him along the way.

For those of you who have never read Pilgrim’s Progress, it is first and foremost an adventure story. Christian’s passage to blessedness leads through the Slough of Despond, the Doubting Castle, Vanity Fair, the Palace Beautiful, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death. There is mortal combat, great beasts, unreliable guides, giants, escapes from captivity, unlooked-for friends, and narrow escapes. And my favorite allegorical character ever, Mr. Worldly-Wiseman. It’s a wonderful presentation of the Christian life as one of danger, excitement, watchfulness, and providential care. And the scene in which Christian passes through the River of Death – over which there is no bridge – is so immensely moving and theologically rich. This is one book that will bear many re-readings in your family.

The text is accompanied by wonderfully witty illustrations. Bunyan himself was a nonconformist who served in the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War; my inner history nerd took great glee in the portrayal of Christian and Hopeful in austere Puritan dress, while the unsavory characters are all corrupt and decaying Cavaliers. In addition the illustrations manage to convey the mood and spirit of each episode: Vanity Fair is bustling and distracting, and the Palace Beautiful exudes peace and repose. The images of the fight with Apollyon and the Valley of the Shadow of Death may be too scary for small or sensitive children.

This is a large-format, sturdy picture book that would make a handsome Advent gift for your family: just as we journey through the darkening days towards the light that dawns at Christmas, we can journey along with Christian towards the Celestial City. Or, if you have an older child, this would make wonderful devotional reading.

Did you read Dangerous Journey as a child? Have you read Pilgrim’s Progress? Any other abridged or illustrated versions that you would recommend?

Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa
Demi
Margeret K. McElderry Books, 2005

For those of us who grew up in the closing years of the twentieth century, Mother Teresa is something of an icon. She stands for everything that is saintly, good, and – well, all too often, unattainable. “What do you expect,” I remember friends in high school saying. “I’m not Mother Teresa!” She’s one of those rare public Christians that nearly everyone can agree on: she is a Good Guy, a sort of secular saint.

Except that there is nothing remotely secular about her.

All we do is for Jesus,’ Teresa said to the Missionaries of Charity. ‘We are first of all religious. We are not social workers, teachers, nurses, or doctors. We are religious sisters. We serve Jesus in the poor, we nurse Him, feed Him, clothe Him, visit Him, and comfort Him in the poor, the abandoned, the sick, the orphans, and the dying. All we do – our prayer, our work, our suffering – is for Jesus. Our life has no other reason or motivation.’ “

Mother Teresa, an illustrated biography by noted author-illustrator Demi, makes the central focus of her ministry plain. Mother Teresa’s call, her obedience, the miracles she witnessed, and the astounding work God did through her are all recounted in detail; yet Demi allows the diminutive nun herself to speak throughout – and Mother Teresa could never speak of her work without speaking about who it was for: Jesus.

Although this is a picture book, it is really closer to a middle-grade reading level: there are lots of dates, facts, and details about Mother Teresa’s work, life in India, and the Missionaries of Charity. I was fairly familiar with her life story, having read Malcolm Muggeridge’s Something Beautiful For God. Nevertheless, I found this book particularly affecting and inspiring. The enormity and beauty of her work are on display alongside her humility and simplicity. Each page includes a quotation from Mother Teresa, a prayer she has composed, or a passage of Scripture. The illustrations are tender yet reverent: my favorite is one of Mother Teresa praying, face in hands, as Jesus looks quietly on her back.

(I found this picture especially poignant, given what we know now about Mother Teresa’s ongoing faithfulness through a lifelong dark night of the soul.)

Protestant readers, be aware: Mother Teresa was a faithful daughter of the Roman Catholic church, and the Missionaries of Charity are a Catholic order. The end of the book contains a detailed account of her process towards sainthood, and yes, there’s a picture of Pope John Paul II smiling from the back cover with his apostolic blessing for the book. Don’t let that deter you. You’d miss a wonderful opportunity to introduce kids to an ecumenical experience, in which we see God powerfully at work across confessions and man-made divisions.

The Bronze Bow

The Bronze Bow
Elizabeth George Speare
Houghton Mifflin, 1961

I don’t know how I missed The Bronze Bow when I was a young reader. I loved Elizabeth George Speare’s debut novel, Calico Captive and the Newbery-winning The Witch of Blackbird Pond.  But somehow The Bronze Bow (also a Newbery medalist) never made it home from the library. And I’m actually kind of glad, because it was such a joy to discover it this summer!

Set in first-century Galilee, the novel tells the story of Daniel bar Jamin, a young blacksmith who has fled to the hills to join a band of robbers and who has dedicated his life to ousting the Romans from Israel. Sworn to vengeance upon the occupiers who killed his father, Daniel nevertheless befriends Joel bar Hezron, the scholarly son of a famous rabbi, and his beautiful sister, Malthace. Together the three pledge themselves to working for the Victory of God, and take for themselves David’s symbol of the bronze bow – from his famous song of praise for deliverance from Saul:

God is my strong refuge,
and has made my way safe.
He made my feet like hinds’ feet,
and set me secure on the heights.
He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
(2 Sam 22:33-35/Psalm 18:33-34)

Yet even as Daniel plans for war and dreams of violent revenge, he and his friends find themselves drawn again and again to hear the teachings of a wandering rabbi in nearby Capernaum. This Jesus of Nazareth draws crowds wherever he goes and seems to possess the power of God – and yet his preaching is so strange! He promises that the Kingdom is at hand, but slips away when the crowds would crown him king; his followers are convinced that he is the one who will deliver Israel, but he refuses to mount armed resistance against the Romans. The novel unfolds as Daniel seeks his revenge while grappling with the challenge Jesus presents.

I had trouble putting this book down: it has adventure, drama, gripping emotional tension, true friendship, and true love. Plus it has Jesus!

Jesus hovers like a shadow at the edges of the story for the first half of the book; as he looms larger and larger in Daniel’s consciousness, he comes more clearly into focus in the narrative. All of the characters are thoroughly, convincingly realized, and Jesus is no exception – which must be tricky for a novelist. I mean, the guy is God and man; the logos of creation, the second Adam, and a tired, humble carpenter. Most creative writing teachers would advise against this combination of traits.

But I loved this portrayal of Jesus. Daniel finds him frustrating, difficult to comprehend, yet utterly compelling. He can’t explain his attraction to this carpenter; he openly rejects him at one point; but he can’t get him out of his head. Much of the book is concerned with the search for a leader who will deliver Israel – what will this leader look like? How will he be recognized? When will he reveal himself? Jesus’ stubborn refusal to be the leader either the Zealots or the Pharisees demand, paired with his insistent call to “follow me” is something every major character in this novel must grapple with.

Daniel’s own struggle with Jesus’ call leads to a rich, satisfying conclusion – I wished I was reading it alongside some friends, because I wanted to dig into the final pages with someone else. But I’ll spare you the spoiler. Trust me – you want to find out on your own. Instead, I’ll leave you with my favorite passage from the whole book: a conversation between Daniel and his good friend, Simon the Zealot:

Daniel could not leave his friend without some answer. “Are you staying with Jesus, Simon?”
“If he will have me.”
“Is–is he one of us?”
Simon smiled. “A Zealot, you mean?”
“Isn’t that why you came? Have you asked him to join us?
“I had some such idea when I came,” Simon admitted. “But it has not worked out as I expected. No, I have not asked Jesus to join us. All I hope and long for now is that he will ask me to join him.”

Noah’s Ark

Noah's Ark

Noah’s Ark
Jerry Pinkney
Chronicle Books, 2002

As we’ve mentioned before, “the Noah problem” has become shorthand around Aslan’s Library for an all-too-common pitfall in Christian kidlit: Bible story books that completely miss the point. It’s pretty difficult to find a flood-story picture book that echoes the gravity of the biblical narrative. (After all: this is a story about the near-annihilation of the human race!) So, honestly, I didn’t expect we’d ever review a picture book on this one. Some stories just live best in the Bible.

But I was browsing at the library a week or so ago, and came across two versions that merited a second look. The first, a Caldecott-winner by Peter Spier, is a wordless retelling; overall, I liked it. His art is great fun to look at (if you don’t have a copy of People, it’s worth tracking down) and really engaging. But the book that earns a spot on the shelf at Aslan’s Library is Jerry Pinkney’s Noah’s Ark (a Caldecott Honor book).

While I liked both volumes, one thing in particular won me to Pinkney’s book: its beautiful portrayal of how God shelters creation on a wooden ark even as he wipes it away everywhere else. The gorgeous illustrations are accompanied by a simple retelling. Combined, they evoke God’s delivering work throughout Scripture: a faithful human (or group of humans) is entrusted with the care and husbanding of creation, the preservation of God’s good work, even in the midst of destruction and judgment.

Here is is Noah, calling the animals and caring for them on the ark. Later in Scripture we see the Israelites forming a new community, complete with laws about their neighbors’ oxen, out in the desert; the exiled Jews sitting on the banks of the river in Babylon and singing songs of the land they hope to farm once again; Jesus, feeding his friends on the night before his death and the morning of their post-resurrection meeting. The massive scope of God’s rescue of creation lives side by side, in Scripture, with the call for humans to care for it in the most mundane ways: feeding animals, tilling the earth, feeding each other.

Of course, none of this is explicit in Noah’s Ark. It is simply a beautiful account that manages to capture a theme running all through Scripture. The story of the flood, after all, is a story of judgment and renewal; it’s a story of one man shepherding God’s creation through destruction, and God’s covenant with him to continue that trust for all time. Noah’s Ark is a picture book that gets the story right, and with beauty to spare.