'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 13 October 2010

Review: The Vegetable Ark

Here we have yet another picture book that hooks you in even before you open the front cover. Charming, whimsical, beautiful illustrations and a fascinating title provide it all.

And what’s inside? More beauty. Sigh. DeGennaro’s work is typically gorgeous and reminiscent of the vintage books we all flop about helplessly over. Using lustrous yet muted colour and delicious paper layering techniques, you could easily be tempted to just lick the pages.

The Vegetable Ark follows the story of Noah and Neil, from young boys to grown men. Noah becomes a competitive man with a spine of steel. He always comes first. Neil never comes first. He instead becomes a loner. While Noah brokers deals, Neil chats dreamily to pot plants.

Neil becomes a vegetarian, grows the most glorious veggie garden and lives a peaceful life until one dark and stormy night, Noah bursts into his apartment and tells him the storm will last for 40 days and 40 nights, and that he’s felling trees to build an enormous ark and Neil must grab some spare knickers and join him – post-haste!

Reluctant to join his brother and leave all his vegetable seedlings to fate, Neil instead fashions his own storm-navigating boat that is just priceless, as is the way he finally beats his brother… to land.

Kane has written The Vegetable Ark with deft humour, beautiful rhythm and style, and the story’s references to a time-honoured Biblical tale are heartfelt and given a contemporary, ecological twist. The book’s typeset pages are a designer’s dream – and in this way, The Vegetable Ark is a true stand out in children’s picture books this year.

Title: The Vegetable Ark
Author: Kim Kane
Illustrator: Sue DeGennaro
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, A$29.99RRP
Publication Date: August 2010
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781741759969
For ages: 5-8
Type: Picture Book

Teachers' Notes

This book can be bought online