Sunday, January 22, 2006

Nora's Ark

Kinsey-Warnock, Natalie. 2005. NORA’S ARK. Ill. by Emily Arnold McCully. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 0060295171 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-5]

This story is told from the perspective of a young girl named Wren who lived with her grandmother and grandfather on a farm in Vermont. The story is historical fiction told in picture book format about the flood of 1927, which was the worst disaster in the history of Vermont. Eighty-four people died and 9,000 had to leave their homes until the floodwaters subsided. Two thousand cows drowned and more than 7,000 acres of farmland were washed away. 1,450 bridges were destroyed in addition to railroad tracks and dirt roads. Wren’s grandfather was building a new house for the family when the storm hit. Since the new house was almost finished, Wren and her grandparents moved in because it was on higher ground. Soon neighbors and their animals converged on the house too. Wren’s grandmother and grandfather provided a safe and dry place for their neighbors to gather while the flood was raging. Forty years later hoofprints in the wood floors of the house are still there because they remind Wren of “what’s important: family and friends and neighbors helping neighbors.”

The evocative watercolor illustrations by Caldecott Medal winner, Emily Arnold McCully enhance the strong narrative. Readers are transported to the flood of 1927 by such scenes as Wren pushing an old baby carriage uphill to the new house through the raging storm. The baby carriage was filled with 27 loaves of freshly baked bread her grandmother had baked earlier when she realized the severity of the rainstorm. She was prepared to help their neighbors endure the flood.

Have readers learn about other devastating floods, such as the Mississippi River flood of 1927.

Other books about floods :
Kurtz, Jane. RIVER FRIENDLY, RIVER WILD. ISBN 0689820496

By Judy Brown McKenna

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