Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Yolen puts Noah’s wife center stage in this reimagining of the biblical flood narrative. Kindly, gentle Mrs. Noah, her long white hair in a half-up bun, nurses injured birds of all kinds back to health. Doves, which remind her of her grandmother (presumably deceased) “at night, bending over to pray in her soft, gray clothing,” are her favorite. When it begins to rain interminably, Mrs. Noah struggles to keep her bird cages above the rising floodwaters. “Do not worry,” Mr. Noah reassures her, “God has told me what to do.” With his sons and daughters, he builds a “huge boat” (the sudden absence of rain in the illustration showing the boat’s construction may confuse some readers) that spares his family and a male and female of each animal species from the world-engulfing flood. When the rain stops, Mrs. Noah sends out her birds to find evidence of dry land. The eagles, ravens, terns, and gulls all fail to return, but her doves come back bearing bits of vegetation in their beaks, heralding the deluge’s end. Lyrical imagery suffuses the lexically stimulating text: Raindrops are “small drips as perfect as pearls,” and rain showers are “cloudbursts and gully washers.” Massari’s trademark style incorporates various textures and elaborate patterns recalling the ornamentations of sacral architecture. The animals’ droll facial expressions (Noah’s too, at times) sometimes give them a bored look. The characters’ light-brown skin and clothing cue them as Middle Eastern. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A lovely backstory for an obscure biblical personality. (Religious picture book. 3-8) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
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“Before there was rain,/ Mrs. Noah kept injured birds,” writes Yolen (Elefantastic!), immediately drawing readers into this poetic and visually striking variation on the ark story. Portrayed with light brown skin and flowing white hair, Mrs. Noah exudes serenity as she nurses her feathered patients, and they, in turn, know “she would keep them safe/ until they were well enough, or old enough,/ to go off on their own.” But she loves the doves best of all: “They reminded her of her grandmother/ cooing over the newest grandchild/ or, at night, bending over to pray/ in her soft, gray clothing.” When the rains come and the waters rise (the story reverses the traditional chronology of building and storm), Mrs. Noah urges her husband to save her beloved birds, soon learning that God, through Mr. Noah, has much bigger plans in mind—and an important role for her doves. With flowing lines, soft rich tones, and patterning reminiscent of decorative art (the doves’ wings seem almost bejeweled), Massari (Goddess Power) conveys a time and place that feels both of its time and deeply familiar, and the creators render Mrs. Noah as the epitome of selfless love and enduring hope. Ages 5–9. (May)