Story Cue Card
Bibliographic Information: The Story of Noah, Genesis 6-8, The NIV Study Bible
Ethnic Origin: Hebrew
Running Time: 6 minutes
Power Centers: Awe of the ark, delight in the animals, uncertainty and despair as it rains and they float, hope in seeing the rainbow.
Characters: Noah, God
Scenes: 1. Noah builds the ark. 2. Noah, his family and two of every animal go into the ark. 3. The rain falls and the boat floats on the water. 4. Everyone leaves the boat and sees the rainbow in the sky.
Synopsis: The people of earth had become corrupt and wicked. God became angry and decided to destroy every living thing with a great flood. However, among all the people, there was one good man, Noah. So God told Noah to build an ark. Noah was to take his family, two of every kind of animal and enough food to feed them all during the flood. When the ark was finished and everyone was inside, it began to rain. It rained for 40 days and 40 nights. And the boat floated on the surface of the water. Then God sent a wind to dry up all the water. Noah sent out a dove to find land but the dove returned. Seven days passed and Noah sent out the dove again. This time it brought back a fresh olive leaf. Seven days went by and out went the dove again. This time, it didn’t come back. Noah waited seven more days and opened the door of the ark. As everyone went out onto the land, God put a rainbow in the sky as his promise to never destroy the earth with a flood again.
Special Flavor: A Bible Story from the Old Testament. Repetition and rhythm in the phrase “the rain came down and the water came up.”
Audience: This story is excellent for preschoolers because it explains the rainbow, something that most of them have experienced by this time in their life. The concepts are simple and there are elements of wonder in it such as rain for 40 days and nights and a boat as big as a football field. Children also like an animals and the idea of two of every kind is a delight to children. Piaget’s developmental stages stress the importance of repetition to preschoolers so the phrase “the rain came down and the water came up” is appropriate. Charlotte Huck mentions that preschoolers have a beginning interest in how things work so they might enjoy a story explaining why there are rainbows.
Bibliographic Information on Versions and Variants: Brown, Dee. “How Corn Came to Earth” Tepee Tales of the American Indian. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1979.
Reid, Barbara. Two by Two. New York: Scholastic Inc.. 1992.
Tresselt, Alvin. “Noah.” Stories from the Bible. New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1971.
Wilkon, Piotr and Jozef Wilkon. Noah’s Ark. New York: North-South Books, 1992.
Comparison: “How Corn Came to Earth” is a North American variant on the motif of a deluge destroying the world, but some people remaining safe. In the variant, Nesaru became angry because the giants had become wicked and he decided to destroy them by covering the earth with water. However, he saved the ordinary people and the animals by sending them into a cave and sealing it during the flood. After the water was gone he sent Mother-Corn to bring the people up out of the ground. The story goes on to tell the how the people were given corn, how animals gained some of their characteristics, and why there are chiefs and medicine men. With so many parts to this story, it is too complex and too long for preschoolers. It might be possible to use just the first section about the flood and the rescue of the people by Mother-Corn. This story has a great deal of special Native American flavor in the explanation for symbols such as corn, cedar trees, and medicine men.
Barbara Reid’s “Two by Two” is a retelling of the Noah story done in rhyme. While it contains the main points of the original story, it is stripped of detail and complexity and rhyme is given center stage. The stanza “Then in came the animals two by two, the frogs leaped over a kangaroo. And in came the animals three by three, the fleas rode in on a chimpanzee” gives the animals great importance and a sense of fun that would delight any young child. This book has a special flavor of its own because the music to a traditional song is provided and the rhyme has been written to fit the music. This gives the rhyme a very musical rhythm even when it is read or recited. This version would be very appropriate for preschoolers, especially the youngest of that age group.
The retelling of the Noah story by Alvin Tresselt follows very closely to the original text. The language used is more traditional than many versions, for example, “All things that breathed the breath of life did he gather into the ark.” However, the story is still simply told and easily understood. The purpose of this version seems to be for teaching rather than for entertaining. This version might be valuable for a Sunday school class for older preschoolers.
“Noah’s Ark” by Piotr and Jozef Wilkon is lively and fun. While it includes the main plot of the original, Noah and the animals are given a depth of character that is very appealing. The animals talk to each other and help build the ark, Noah rubs his eyes sleepily, the animals grumble about space in the boat and when they find land the animals cheer Noah while the elephants lift him into the air. The characterization of the animals would charm and attract preschoolers. They would be able to identify further with the story. Of note in this version is the structure of the final power center. It does not end with the appearance of the rainbow and a promise from God, but instead the dove flies back over the rainbow and back to Noah because “he saved her life.”