Meet at the Ark at Eight! – Ulrich Hub

meet-at-the-ark-at-eight-ulrich-hub“Somewhere in the world is a place made of ice and snow. Wherever you look, you see only snow and ice and ice and snow and snow and ice. 

If you look more closely, you can see three small figures in the snow and ice. They are standing close together, looking around. Wherever they look, they too can see nothing but ice and snow and snow and ice and ice and snow.”

When three penguins get into an argument and the littlest storms off they expect that to be the end of their friendship, for Penguins can be stubborn little things. However two of the penguins get a visit from a dove, informing them that the end of the world is near and if they want to survive they best meet pairs of the other animals at Noah’s Ark at eight that evening, and don’t be late! While the penguins ponder their plight, and if they were good penguins or bad, if they helped cause the flood and if they should be saved, they take the chance to grab their friend, stick him in a suitcase and meet at the ark, albeit a little late! What comes next is an awful lot of questioning, from penguin and dove alike, and a meeting with a quite apologetic God. Here you will find an odd tale of morals from a perspective you never imagined and three penguins who in reality, may not have deserved their place on Naoh’s Ark, but you can decide that for yourself. 

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This is a strange, strange book. Its translated from German and is a humorous, sweet twist on the Noah’s Ark tale from the bible. It is marketed as a children’s book which can be read by adults alike, but in all honesty I think the adults may get more from it as they will understand the humour more and children will probably just enjoy the pictures and the fighting, the moral story could easily be lost on them!

I thought it was a little long winded and I got a little bit bored of the story part way through. It wasn’t as funny as I expected but I think thats because I kinda expected a satirical twist on the Noah’s Ark story and its not that, its a retelling from the point of view of some penguins and it does kinda question the existence of a God and things like that but I wasn’t blown away by the book at all.

I think my favourite part of the book was the illustrations, which were done by Jörg Mühle. They were funny and let through a lot of the personality of the penguins and the dove which I enjoyed. I think they cartoon-y nature of the illustrations helped the story along its path which is why I carried on reading and finished the book as quickly as I did.

At only 66 pages long this isn’t a hefty book by any means and only took a little while to read, it had more written content in than I expected but I got a few laughs out of it and I think it was an interesting read. Like I said I think adults will get more out of it than children will but maybe thats just because I couldn’t think of anything worse than reading about God when I was little (a religious school put me off religion in a big way when I was still very young!) and the big moral questions would have probably bored me more back then than they do now.

Meet at the Ark at Eight! will be published on September 24th by Pushkins Children’s Books. It was translated from German by Helena Ragg-Kirkby and illustrated by Jörg Mühle. My copy was sent to me from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
 
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