Mrs Noah’s Song

Mrs Noah’s Song
Jackie Morris and James Mayhew
Otter-Barry Books

The third in this series wherein Jackie Morris’ lyrical words are visually sung in collage style art by James Mayhew, is again gorgeous. Together they tell a magical tale about how Mrs Noah brings song back into the world. Music and song are a way of connecting people no matter where they are and Mrs Noah assuredly unites her family by singing to the children, morning, noon and night, while Mr Noah listens enraptured.

One morning the children ask Mrs Noah where she learned to sing and she tells them sadly that it was “Far away and long ago.” Called by the sunshine, the children then leave, save the youngest who asks the singer, “Why are you sad?” Having given an explanation about remembering her mother and grandmother, Mrs Noah says that-sometimes the sadness caused by missing somebody you love is a good kind of feeling.

They then both venture outside to greet the day watched by Mr Noah who had heard what was said.

Outside it’s time for a singing lesson, which must start with learning how to listen properly – eyes closed, ears open wide, wide. After a while the youngest child joyfully announces, “I can hear the garden singing.” And, it most certainly was, with birdsong, humming bees, dragonfly wings rattling and a gentle breeze setting the leaves in musical motion.

Mr Noah gets busy fashioning a huge hammock and they all spend a blissful night under the stars listening to the magical music created by the natural world together with Mrs Noah’s songs.

Next morning having slept soundly, to everyone’s delight they’re woken as the sun rises, by the dawn chorus. United in song, united in music, united in love. If only it could be so the world over, if only …

Like many people in our current turbulent world with wars and people forced to flee, Mrs Noah was actually a refugee who had to start her life anew in an unknown place; she knew that music could be a way of helping her children develop a sense of belonging in a new land. Music speaks a universal language, one that transcends barriers and that’s something that’s vitally needed in our divisive world. “If music be the food of love, play on.” So said Duke Orsino in the first scene of Twelfth Night. Let it be so.

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