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Ark in the Park (Redfeather Book) Hardcover – June 1, 2000
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2-A sweet chapter book for beginning readers. Mr. and Mrs. Noah have every kind of pet in the world in their ark-shaped, seven-level pet shop that spans two city blocks. Lonely little Sophie lives in a high-rise apartment building across the street from the park, overlooking the shop. She makes two impossible wishes, one for a pet and another for cousins, and a third not-quite-so-impossible wish-to visit The Noahs' Ark. At the same time, Mr. and Mrs. Noah are thinking about how lucky they are to have everything they have ever wanted-except children. They make one impossible wish-for grandchildren. When Sophie's seventh birthday arrives, her parents agree to take her to the pet shop. Thus begins a beautiful relationship between a lonely child with no extended family and a childless couple. Whimsical black-and-white, pen-and-ink drawings on every page encourage young imaginations to fill in the details. One can almost see dreams and wishes in the shadows. Readers will approve of Sophie's ability to handle the responsibility of crossing the street alone and feelings of importance that are granted her by her parents and the Noahs. They may expect miracles from the beginning, but the realistic ending suits the lovely story. "'You see,' said Mr. Noah, 'sometimes when you can't have something that you want very badly, you find something else instead.'" Beginning readers will be completely satisfied.
Kit Vaughan, Midlothian Middle School, VA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 2-3. Seven-year-old Sophie, who lives with her parents and twin baby siblings in a top-floor apartment, has two wishes: she wants a pet and cousins to visit (the family is from a distant, unnamed country and has no relatives nearby). From her window, she can see a marvelous pet shop, The Noah's Ark, across the street. The shop is run by Mr and Mrs. Noah, who have a wish of their own: grandchildren. On her seventh birthday, Sophie persuades her parents to take her to the shop, and before long, she is carefully crossing the street and walking through the park by herself to help the Noahs care for their incredible assortment of animals. By the end of this short, sweet book, originally published in Australia, all the wishes have come true, if not literally, then where it counts--in the heart. Suggest this to children ready for slightly more challenging chapter books: the manageable blocks of text, grade-appropriate vocabulary, and lighthearted line drawings by Kerry Millard (reminiscent of Quentin Blake's) will speed the reading along. The story has great read-aloud potential, as well. Catherine Andronik
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Shannon, age 9 1/2