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A NEW TWIST ON A TIMELESS TALE
Noah and the Ziz
written by Jacqueline Jules
illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn
Kar-Ben Publishing, 2005, ages 3-8
$17.95 0-929371-01-1 hardback
$7.95 1-58013-121-2 paperback
Arlington, VA, January 2005. Many children know the bible story of Noah’s ark. But
do they know who collected the animals for the ark? Noah had to gather leaves for the
giraffes, bananas for the monkeys, and hay for the cows. How could he go in one
direction to get the pandas and another direction to get the kangaroos?
Noah and the Ziz, by the award-winning author Jacqueline Jules, answers this question by
sending the Ziz to the rescue. Who is the Ziz? He is a giant yellow bird with huge red
wings that block out the sun. The Ziz is so strong he can carry an elephant with his feet
and fly across the world in twenty minutes. He is the perfect bird for the job. But there is
a problem. The Ziz is a little clumsy and a lot hyperactive. In his zeal to please and
succeed, he wreaks havoc. Small animals are too frightened to go with him.
How does the Ziz deal with this problem? He goes to Mount Sinai where he can poke his
purple-feathered head into Heaven. Whenever the Ziz is in trouble, he consults God.
Their conversations in Noah and the Ziz and its prequel, The Hardest Word, provide
young readers with an entertaining example of turning to God for help.
Author Jacqueline Jules created the Ziz character from a mythological bird mentioned in
the Book of Psalms. She researched this legend and added some of her own personality
traits to the character. “Like the Ziz,” Ms. Jules admits, “I am impatient. I like to finish
things right away. I also share the source of the Ziz’s many mishaps – I am clumsy.”
Reviews of The Hardest Word, in which the Ziz made his first appearance, said “that any
kid who has ever broken a dish or sent a baseball through a window will identify.” In his
newest adventure, the Ziz will appeal to young readers who understand exactly why the
Ziz is frustrated when Noah keeps reminding him to be careful. And they will applaud his
success, when Noah finally says the words the Ziz has been longing to hear – “good job.”
Jacqueline Jules is a school librarian, who says she gets her ideas when planning lessons.
For many years, she worked in religious education and saw a lack of entertaining stories
with a spiritual center. “Lessons delivered with humor have child appeal,” she says.
“Parents want faith to be a warm, positive force in their children’s lives. They need
attractive books children will sit still for and ask to hear again. Noah’s Ark, with all its
animals, is well-loved by children. Noah and the Ziz is an imagined prequel to this
familiar tale. By speculating on an unknown aspect of the Noah’s Ark story, Noah and
the Ziz invites young readers to create their own extensions of favorite Bible stories.
When we ponder the unanswered questions in the Bible, such as how the animals arrived
at the Ark, we deepen our understanding and appreciation for the text.”
Jacqueline Jules became so attached to her character that she asked a local artist to make
her a stuffed Ziz. She appears at book signings and story times with her large yellow
friend. Her performances also include songs, fingerplays, and audience participation.
For more information, please visit www.jacquelinejules.com.
To Order: Contact Nancy Kaplan at Kar-Ben/Lerner Publishing
1-800-452-7236 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org