Have you ever wondered what all those animals did when they were cooped up on the ark for forty days? Well, if you read this delightful children's book, all will be revealed.
The Two-by-two Band is an excellent book to share with small children especially if they already know the story of Noah's Ark. In this story, it starts by showing how bored Noah and all the animals are. However, this all changes when Mrs Noah suggests that they start up a band and reminds Noah that all the musical instruments are in 'the third cupboard from the left, on the second to bottom deck'. Everyone is thrilled by this idea and it's not long before all the animals are choosing their instruments. There are some very apt choices including the marmosets playing the castanets, the pangolins picking violins and the baboons opting to play the bassoons. Soon they all have an instrument - even the elephants who are left to play the triangles!
The problem is that as soon as they start playing the sound is dreadful. Again, Mrs Noah rescues the situation by telling Noah that he needs to conduct the animals in order to achieve some more tuneful music. He has no baton though but just when it looks like a hopeless cause a dove flies in with an olive branch. Soon they are making wonderful music and really getting into the swing of things. It takes Noah quite a few bars of music though before he realises the significance of the olive branch. Land is near and soon the ark is wobbling to a stop on the top of a mountain. As all the animals disappear into the distance, Noah and his wife can still hear the ringing of sweet music in their ears.
I shared this book with both my three year old and five year old daughters. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. The girls loved the fact that it was a twist on a story that they already knew and they enjoyed the humour. I think the idea behind this story is lovely and it is accompanied by some wonderfully bright and funny pictures. We liked the fact that Noah and his wife are depicted wearing modern clothing and we thought that Mrs Noah's attire of floral print frock, striped apron and wellington boots was extremely attractive. We enjoyed seeing the pictures of all the different animals but I have to admit that there were some none of us had heard of! What are pangolins?
I thought that some wonderful descriptive language was used in this story. Phrases such as 'melodiously harmonious' and 'marvellous music ebbed and flowed' were particularly attractive and introduced my daughters to some new vocabulary. I also liked the way the text was set out on the page in such a way that at times it seemed that the words were almost dancing in front of us. My daughters always seem to appreciate it when authors do unusual things with the text layout.
This really is a fabulous book to share with young children. The story is funny, the illustrations are bright and attractive and the language is rich. It was a delight to read with my daughters and I feel sure that it is a story we will want to return to again and again.
This hardcover book with 32 bright and colourful page sis available on Amazon for £7.14.
This review has previously appeared at www.thebookbag.co.uk under my name.