Why We Chose This Book: Why Dogs Have Wet Noses


When the Book Selection Committee first learned of Kenneth Steven’s Why Dogs Have Wet Noses, we briefly wondered whether our families had already received enough Noah’s ark books. Once we opened the book and delved into its detailed, funky Illustrations, we knew that this was a treasure that families wouldn’t want to miss. 

Illustrator Øyvind Torseter populates Noah’s ark with dozens of whimsical and rambunctious creatures, whose emotions and activities fluctuate rapidly from one day to the next. Observant readers (of all ages) will enjoy spotting new, hilarious details on every page. Try finding the rock star rhinoceros, the card-playing hippo, and the bookworm zebra.

When the bustling ark springs a leak Noah uses his dog’s nose to plug the hole. Because the faithful dog must keep his nose in the hole for twenty days, it remains forever damp.

Like all good PJ stories, this quirky tale is sure to generate much discussion: Was Noah treating his dog fairly? Why did the dog obey Noah? How far must loyalty extend?  

While Why Dogs Have Wet Noses represents a fanciful reimagining of the Noah’s ark story, it is, in many ways, as rich and multi-layered as the original Biblical tale itself. This is a book that readers will want to return to again and again, viewing the ark from new perspectives and uncovering new meaning each time it is read aloud. For even deeper and livelier conversations, we encourage families to compare this version of Noah’s Ark to other PJ tellings of the tale, such as, The Chameleon that Saved Noah’s Ark, Fox Walked Alone, and The Littlest Pair. The possibilities for laughter and the honing of literary critical thinking skills are endless.

We are on a quest to bring more brilliant new Jewish children's books to life! Visit our Author's Incentive Award page or click to learn more about the upcoming writer's retreat we are cosponsoring with the Yiddish Book Center.

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