Picture the animals packed into Noah's ark--big, small, furry, feathered,
sleek and shiny. How did they manage all crowded in together?
Jan Brett imagines Noah's granddaughter finding the way
as she boards the ark with the animals and helps them settle down.
That's not so easy because they thump and bump and push and press against
one another. But this resourceful little girl keeps the peace, and
as the ark rocks gently in new seas, the animals fall sound asleep.
Then she tiptoes around, untangling necks and tails, wings and paws, until
she too sleeps safely between the lion's paws.
The story of Noah's ark braving the great flood for
forty days and forty nights until the waters recede and life starts anew
on land is beautifully told in an original text and magnificent paintings,
which reflect Jan Brett's love of animals great and small.
The story not only appealed to Jan Brett because she
loves to draw animals, but it meant going to Botswana, Africa to see
mammals and birds in their natural habitat. "To be physically close
to Africa creatures was a primal, rapturous experience," she says.
Seeing the giant cushion like tracks of the wild
elephants and then examining the feet of a semi habituated elephant
crystallized the "mythic-to-intimate" scale that marked the trip for her.
As Jan and her husband, Joe Hearne, paddled along in
dugout canoes in the channels of the Okavango Delta, they saw vast
stretches of papyrus plants, inspiring Jan to create borders of papyrus
paper, so long linked to our early history.