As the rain falls, Mr Noah starts to build an ark. He feels it will be an ideal opportunity to 'tidy up the world a bit' so he makes two lists: one for all the animals who will sail on it and one for all the 'troublesome creatures' he will leave behind.Having seen this, Mrs Noah smiles, gets out her sewing machine and starts stitching.
Just before boarding, Mrs Noah went for one last walk into Mythico Woods, wearing the brand new coat she had made with very deep pockets- lots of pockets. And then the water lifted the ark and all on it and it drifted away. Eventually, it came to rest on the tip of a mountain where all the animals spilled out onto the land and Mrs Noah wandered off into some nearby woods where she carefully emptied her pockets of all the creatures she had saved and set them free, two-by-two, into the new land.
In 'Mrs Noah's Pockets', the lyrical prose and vibrant illustrations work in perfect harmony to produce a book of great quality and beauty. Jackie Morris and James Mayhew have taken this familiar Bible story and made it their own, developing the distinctive personalities of Mr Noah and his wife and explaining why, when he had the chance to rid the world of annoying creatures like wasps and flies, he didn't. Except it isn't these creatures Mrs Noah has saved- it is the creatures of myth and legend which pour from her pockets in all their glory, enriching the Earth.
The story is perfect for reading aloud and sharing whist the listener(s) enjoys discovering all the details on the illustrations. There is so much potential for using a book like this with a class- the illustrations alone could be used to inspire art lessons, using various techniques to create Mrs Noah's coat, the ark and the fabulous mythical creatures she saves. There is also much to explore around each character's motivation- is Mr Noah right to rid the earth of 'troublesome creatures'? Should Mrs Noah have saved them? Should there be room on the earth for everything to live together? Should anyone have the right to make those decisions and impose them on others? All of this lends itself to speaking and listening opportunities, writing in various genres and so on.
Wonderful stuff- the essence of reading for pleasure!
Mrs Noah's Pockets by Jackie Morris, illustrated by James Mayhew
Otter-Barry Books ISBN: 978-1910959091