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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Little Scraggly Hair: A Dog on Noah's Ark

by Lynn Cullen
illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

Religious/Secular Content
Yes. The Noah's Ark theme is common to nearly all cultures on earth including Christianity, Judaism and Moslem. However, this is a fantastical, fictional tale with little regard for historical accuracy.
Adult Content
No; unless you count the implied reference to all life drowning in the flood waters.
Mature Topics
Rejection. The dog is an outcast among outcasts. Noah's neighbors ridicule him for building a boat and for keeping a dog.
Strong/Inappropriate Language
Noah's children are ashamed of him and lazy, refusing to do the work assigned to them. Noah's wife is angry with him. All of them are disrespectful complainers. Even Noah guiltily takes the dog in the house when he knows his wife will not like it and pacifies her objections with a false promise.
Drug/Alcohol Use
Reference to people being mean to each other, but no specifics. And again, the implied notion that all people on earth parish by the flood.
Educational Value
An excellent example of a tall tale; would fit well into a literary study of this genre. The hick accent in which it is told is quite well written.  There are many opportunities for discussing the fruits of the spirit, how they are violated and how they could be applied.
Positive/Negative Messages
The lonely, rejected dog endears itself to Noah and eventually to his daughter, where he finds a family to love him and a forever home.

In the spirit of Rudyard Kipling's Just So Stories comes this delightful, fantastical tale of how dogs got wet noses.

If you can stand the melding of a true story with the inaccuracies of a tall tale, this is a darling story that I would recommend for all ages. If you are sensitive to your children getting inaccurate ideas in their heads about biblical stories, this is one to avoid, for there are many biblical inaccuracies.

  1. The bible says Noah had three sons and no daughters who board the ark as adults who are already married. In this book, Noah has two sons and two daughters who board the ark as children.

  2. The bible says Noah took 2 or 7 pairs of each kind of animal, depending on the type of animal. The book says Noah took two of every critter, plus the dog, who did not have a mate when he got on the ark.

  3. The bible says that when the ark was completely loaded and Noah was on board, the LORD shut the door and THEN it began to rain. In the book, it starts to rain before everyone is on the ark and the dog keeps working in the rain.

  4. In the biblical account, the ark is well prepared to meet the needs of its inhabitants. In this book, there is insufficient space and insufficient food.

  5. In the biblical account, Noah sends the dove out after 150 days and watches for its return. In this story, Noah's daughter discovers the dove on the dog's nose on the 40th day.

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Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phillipians 4:8