The Ark, the Reed & the Fire Cloud

Children - Grade 4th-6th
464 Pages
Reviewed on 03/10/2009
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Author Biography

Award winning author Jenny L. Cote developed an early passion for God, history and young people, and beautifully blends these passions together in her two fantasy fiction series, The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz® and Epic Order of the Seven™. Likened to C.S. Lewis by book reviewers and bloggers, Jenny provides creative writing workshops at schools and universities around the country and abroad.

Jenny is available to speak to schools, churches, libraries, professional and community groups. To schedule a talk, reading and/or book signing, or interview please contact Jenny at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Jenny L Cote is an extremely talented author. The Ark, the Reed & the Fire Cloud is sure to be a favorite of your child. The plot follows Max, a Scottish terrier, and Liz, a feline, as they lead other various animals to Noah’s Ark. Cote never allows her tale to be boring. She uses humor, adventure, danger, twists, and turns throughout the plot.

The Ark, the Reed & the Fire Cloud will make a great read aloud to your children or grandchildren. Some children will even want to read it to themselves, although 437 pages may be a bit daunting to most young children. It is easy to recommend this book to parents and grandparents.

Lori Robson

Even a non-religious person like myself can appreciate the beauty of this wonderful read.

Max, a Scottish terrier, and Liz, a beautiful black cat, are called from their individual homes to lead an ever-growing group of animals to Noah's recently-finished Ark. Along the way are many obstacles that, with a little help from the Maker and his trail-blazing fire cloud, the slew of furry creatures successfully cross. But once they board the ark and settle in, a controversy starts to brew. Are the reclusive wolves causing all the chaos that is slowly severing the friendly ties between the animals and the humans? If not them, who could be responsible for such a task? It's up to the brave and intelligent pairing of Max and Liz to find out before it's too late.

This book had me flipping through chapter after chapter, anxiously following the creatures from distant and nearby lands to the Ark. Each character, no matter how big a part, has their own personality that shines through, providing humorous relief or a jaw-dropping twist to the story. Cote flawlessly links the details of the trip with the recordings of the Bible. The closing of the adventure is beautiful and tear-inducing. An amazing literary work

Christine M. Irvine

"The Ark, the Reed, and the Fire Cloud," is a clever and imaginative tale based on the Biblical story of Noah's Ark. The animals come to Noah from all parts of the world, thousands of them. These beasts and fowl are called by the "Maker" to follow the "fire cloud", a cloud in the sky that glows with the brightness of fire. The animals reach the ark safely, after many trials along the way, but things don't go smoothly while they are all aboard. There is "dissension among the troups". How things are resolved is both amusing and thought-provoking.

We start the story with Max, a Scottish Terrier, (Maximillan Braveheart the Bruce) traveling by himself. He soon meets up with Al, a cat. Then, they are joined by a pair of gulls, another cat, etc. Much of the first part of the story deals with their adventures and exploits, but as the story continues, we are introduced to other characters from other parts of the world. Max, and a cat named Liz, becomes the leaders of all the animals. The reed, which is carried by Max, plays an integral part in the story.

Many of the animals have some type of quirk - A dog afraid of water; a giraffe afraid of heights; a horse that "runs in his sleep"; a rhino with "anger management" issues; etc. And, of course, each animal has its own personality.

The animals come from many countries and speak many languages. Although the book is written in English, the characters manage to interject phrases from their respective countries into the dialogue. The reader is thus treated to snippets of Spanish, Italian, French, Japanese, and Russian, among others. This enhances the storyline and educates the reader, as well. There is also a section in the back of the book that lists the names of all the different types of animals mentioned in the book, their character names (if they were used as specific characters), their country of origin, and any foreign phrases (along with English translations) used throughout the book.

There is much good to be said about this story, but alas, there are a few faults that I feel should be mentioned. First, there are a couple of discrepancies in the story line. At one point in the story, Al (one of the characters) takes off the seed bag he is carrying and lays it on the ground. Seconds later, he is sent crashing down a mountainside during an avalanche. There is no mention of his ever picking the bag back up, but somehow, the seed bag shows up later in the story without any explanation as to how it got there. There are also a few minor typos sprinkled throughout the text. And, there are places where the writing would benefit from a bit of editing.

But, all in all, this is a very good story, as it is laced with lessons about obeying God and doing what's right. It's also a story about friendship and forgiveness and tolerance. And, this is the first in a series of books by this author, featuring Max and Liz. The next book is called The Dreamer, the Schemer, and the Robe (a story about the Bible character Joseph). 4 stars.

Marci Twain

I liked this book. It's the author's rendition of the Biblical story of Noah's Ark. The main character was a small dog named Max. He ultimately becomes one of the animals saved by hopping onto Noah's Ark for a stint. To find Noah's big boat Max was advised by a Reed to follow a Fire Cloud. And much of the story was about how Max and company were able to keep up with the Fire Cloud.

The book was both well written and entertaining. I found it to be a little "corny" since I'm not a young kid and I'm not a believer in "The Maker." It kind of had the feel of a "Touched by an Angel" television episode. But there is nothing wrong with that. Some people like to read fantasy and science fiction books. So this was a nice book in the same vein as far as I was concerned.

I probably would have liked the book better if the author had not tried to tweek the written word as much as she did so we got the feel of the different languages and dialects the characters spoke. The misspellings were annoying to me. I'm much more into reading a story than having to decipher a "new" language.

I suspect kids will very much enjoy having the book read to them. And some may even enjoy reading it to themselves. 4 stars!

PS. Take a look at the Search Inside feature provided by Amazon for this book. There you can see the detailed Table of Contents for this book.

N. S. Workley

I am so glad that I had ordered three copies of this wonderful book for my family. It has easily proven to be one of the childrens favorite stories and has been shared often among their friends.
Jenny Cote has penned engrossing, colorful magic that encourages the reader to thirst for page after page without stopping. What a rarity! She certainly has a knack for weaving a spellbinding biblical tale.
We are eager to delve into her newest sequel: The Dreamer, the Schemer, & the Robe. There's a feeling that it should prove to be even more engrossing than Ms. Cote's original. She is truly a special talent.

Komron Saadati

This book was awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! The author's use of vivid details and humour amazed me!!!! Also, the plot comes across at just the right amount of action, exciting but not too scary. This is a great book for kids!!!!!!!

Liana Metal

The Ark, the Reed and the Fire Cloud is an enjoyable story about Noah's Ark. Actually, the innovative aspect is that this story is retold from a unique perspective; via the adventures of a dog, Max, who is called by the Voice to follow the red cloud and fulfill his own destiny. What is going to happen to him on the way to the Ark? Max feels lonely but soon he comes across a lot of new friends that he will protect during their long journey to the other side of the earth.

The author manages to retell this old Bible story from a fresh point of view. The language is simple for all children to follow and the cover is very attractive. In this book the kids meet all kinds of animals from all parts of the world, and it is humorous at times, sad or exciting to read about all the details Jenny provides her young readers with. This book caters to young readers, age 8-12, but it is also suitable for everyone in the family as it is entertaining and educational. It is a good read for schools and reading groups as it provides input to talk about and encourages readers to see old biblical stories in a new light. Get this book from

M. H. Malone

An amazingly well written story of the animals finding their way to Noah's Ark; the tale of these same creatures aboard the ark and the miraculous happening there and upon departure. Fascinating in every way. A good read for the whole family; one that can be read individually by teenagers and adults; one that will be thoroughly enjoyed when read aloud to younger children. Harry Potter - move over - Max and Liz have arrived! Not only do I highly recommend it to everyone, I just purchased one for each of my ten grandchildren - ages 6 to 25! They loved CS Lewis and Tolkin - they will adore Cote! And they will be amazed at what they learn as they read!

karla Cook

This is a great book! I started reading it and immediately fell in love with the characters. After reading the first few chapters I realized there were wonderful spiritual truths woven into the story, and I knew I had to share it with my animal-loving daughter. So I started it over as a read-aloud with her. She is enjoying it as much as I am! Each chapter leaves her begging for more. She enjoys the gentle humor and adventure, and I appreciate the practical life lessons that are an integral part of the story -- trusting "the Maker", following where He leads, the value of friendship, the wisdom of elders... We look forward to reading the sequels!


My daughter and I loved this book. At 6 her attention span isn't fully developed, but this book was an exception. We laughed, and anticipated the next special time we would have together to read about Max and Liz. Can't say enough!