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Ark in the Park by Wendy Orr


When the reader first reads the title of this book, he or she may wonder if it is a bible story for kids. Although the concept of a boat with animals is central to the book and that two lead characters are named Mr. and Mrs. Noah, the rest of the story is entirely original and secular.


The setting of the story is a high-rise apartment complex, a large park and a giant pet store. Our protagonist is a young girl named Sophie whose life seems kind of  boring.  She has new twin siblings that take up a lot of her parents' time, hampering her ability to do anything too exciting.  Being the parent of twins myself I am aware of the constant need for attention and care that the twins need, but I could also tell you that this idea of it being all encompassing to the point of not allowing the other  child to have any enjoyment in life was concocted entirely to make you feel sorry for the twin's sibling and not a true state about parenting multiples.


Nothing was that great in the Sophie's life  except for the fact that in view from their apartment’s window, she could see a large boat with large sails that is filled with animals.


This boat we find out is owned by an older couple named Mr and Mrs. Noah who have reached all of the their life goals except for having children, and therefore they do not have grandchildren.


Sophie’s wish comes true when she gets to meet, and then befriend, the store owners, Mr. and Mrs. Noah. She helps them take care of the animals and take them on walks. Sophie also takes pleasure in that when animal is sold another person could have the pleasure of owning a pet.


One of the the many clever attributes of this book is that although the animals are not personified, it does mention how there are multiple levels in the store and how the animals that don't like one another are on  on different levels. So many times I find that in children’ books the animals talk and play and live harmoniously with one another.  This book says it likes it is,and admits that some animals should be separated.


The simple black and white illustrations by Kerry Millard capture enough to show us the grandness of the boat, he playfulness of the animals and the emotions of our main characters. By being so simple, the reader is allowed to visualize the boat and encouraged to color in the pictures in their mind which is far richer than any picture could show.


The book has an interesting ending. In most books of this type we might expect the boat to sail away or for the girl to take over the store or for some dramatic rescue of all the animals. Wendy Orr, the author, seeks something unexpected and much more meaningful .