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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Why Dogs Have Wet Noses, written by Kenneth Steven and illustrated by Oyvind Torseter. Enchanted Lion Books, Publishers Group Canada. 2015. $22.50 ages 5 and up

"They sailed away. Land had long since vanished. Only sea and sky remained. The rain fell heavier and heavier, and lightning shot from the black clouds, gleaming like snakes’ tongues. But apart from the crashing sounds of rain and thunder, it was completely quiet. As though there were no other sounds left in the whole wide world."

You will want to take close note of the artwork on each and every page of this stellar book! There is much to see, and to be surprised by. Take, for instance, a close look at Noah and his wife. Notice anything special about them? Does it encourage you to make inferences about their life? What do you notice about his construction scaffold? Interesting, isn't it?

Kenneth Steven is a storyteller. The language he uses captivates and inspires:

"At this same time, there lived
a man named Noah, who was both
watchful and wise. So it was that as
the clouds gathered overhead and the
storm rumbled, he began to build a
lifeboat. He used enormous trees to
make it and called it ... the Ark."

As he did in the Bible, Noah goes out and encourages ALL creatures (even those that people would gladly be without) to join his family. The last animal aboard is a dog. The most noticeable thing about him is soft, black nose. Its enormous and heavy cargo causes the Ark to list to one side. As the waters rise, the boat floats. Off they go!

Outside, all is quiet but for the noises of the storm. Inside, there is a constant cacophony of sound. Noah is so busy, he gets no sleep. From sunup until sundown until sunup he works to care for the creatures and assure their good health. Twenty days into their trip, a hole appears and the boat begins to leak. Noah appeals to his dog for guidance. Getting no help, he comes up with his own plan ... to use the dog's nose to plug the leak!

"The monkeys shrieked, the donkeys
brayed, the mice clapped their little paws,
and Noah and his wife danced for joy.
The Ark had been saved!"

But, what about the next twenty days? Will they reach land? Can the dog save them?

The storytelling is awesome, the book's design is creative and entertaining. Using a fine black pen, Oyvind Torseter creates double page spreads sure to have everyone talking! You will want to share it again and again to ensure that every small detail is noted and discussed. In the end, you will know why your dogs nose is wet!

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