This is an excellent book! While the language might be a little beyond what most 4 year olds are able to understand, my son still loves the telling of the story and the gorgeous illustrations. Further understanding will come! It is important for children to hear this story laid out in a way that it truly may've happened, rather than the cartoonish, fanciful portrayals that make it so difficult for many people to believe. I love that at the end of the book they actually give easily-understood (for adults) mathematical descriptions of the dimensions of the ark. An important read for children and parents alike!
I purchased this book to accompany homeschool study of ancient history, from a Biblical viewpoint. The book is more suited to older children, for whilst the illustrations in the book will keep the younger ones interested, the language and content is rather advanced. The basic facts found in the Bible are largely elaborated on by the author's speculation, and I found I did have to explain this several times to my younger child. The older children understood- this was someone's viewpoint! Some useful and interesting things were the chart showing how long the 8 people were in the ark, plus the Hebrew meaning of ark and a more correct interpretation of ark visually and it's possible construction. These things enabled my children to understand more deeply the enormity of the ark. I would recommend that a child obtain a solid understanding of the story, directly from the Bible, before introducing this book. Please note the eBook version of this product is slower than most digital products, I imagine due to the many beautiful pictures.
Noah's ark and the worldwide flood of Genesis are amongst the Bible events most often retold in children's picture books. Despite the fact that you likely have a copy of one (or more) Noah's ark picture books/board books etc. on your bookshelves, if you hold to a literal, young earth understanding of the book of Genesis this is one rendering of the historical event that you'll want to purchase.
Recounted in an in-depth, factual manner, author Tom Dooley presents the pre-flood world as it is sketched for us in the Bible, and realistically examines the design, dimensions, and logistics of life aboard the ark. As such, the books strength lies not in it's narrative re-telling (which is a bit dry) but simply in the fact that Dooley takes the flood seriously and treats it as history.
The True Story of Noah's Ark reads a bit more like a well-illustrated middle-school textbook than it does a storybook. Because of the reading style, we normally need to read through this book in two or three sittings. There is a lot of text, and my children can zone out after awhile.
Illustrator Bill Looney uses computer-illustration for the copious numbers of detailed pictures included in the book. While computer-illustration is never my favorite style, Looney manages to approximate traditional, realistic, detailed artwork with that medium than any other children's illustrator I've seen.
This lovely hardcover also comes with a CD complete with a reading of the book's text with background music and sound effects. If only there were indicators of when to turn the page, then pre-readers could have the book read to them by the author on CD.
What really sets this book apart is the strong emphasis on the historical reality of Noah and the flood. Dinosaurs are shown boarding and on board the ship (something rarely found in traditional books about Noah) and the sheer scope and scale of the area available for transporting animals is clearly on display. Our family really appreciates the visuals provided at the back of the book that compare the real ark dimensions with the boats normally shown in children's literature. We also appreciate the connection between Jesus being our ark of salvation and the Old Testament ark that God provided for the salvation of His people.
I'm passionate about teaching children Bible events as history, and am always quick to assure my four-year-old when she asks, "Was Noah real?" that yes, indeed, he was! If you only have room in your library for one picture book about Noah, and presenting the events that took place in his life as historical fact is important to you, take a good look at this title, I think you'll be well pleased.