Noah’s Seal by Layn Marlow

My librarian friend ran up to me a few weeks ago and excitedly said that she had a book on order that she thinks I would really like. Noah’s Seal, written and captivatingly illustrated by Layn Marlow.

I trusted my librarian friend, so I ordered it.

I’m going to be honest with all of you and tell you that lately I’ve been struggling to find books that I feel I can recommend to you (hence the excitement of my librarian friend). I need to really love the story. And I need to feel inspired by the illustrations. And most of all, I need to believe that it is a book that young Jenny Black would have wanted to read over and over again with her mom. Maybe it’s the pandemic? Or the ebb and flow of styles and trends? But finding a beautifully illustrated STORY about a well-developed character has been challenging lately— for me—in my admittedly subjective opinion.

So I was extra pleased and excited to find this book. I adore Noah and his seal smiling at me on the cover. I find the combination of Marlow’s beautiful watercolor renderings with just a little bit of digital collage refreshing and inviting.

Noah waits for his Nana to fix the sailboat so they can sail out to see the seals. Nana has explained to Noah that seals do not come in so close to shore and prompts him to go play in the sand, again. Noah digs and as he does the pile of sand behind him takes the form of a seal. With sea shells and dune grass Noah adds spots and eyes and a smiling mouth. He believes the seal is real and when a storm comes and the seal disappears into the ocean…

will Noah ever see his seal again?

Jennifer Black Reinhardt thoroughly enjoyed this celebration of a child’s imagination.

The magic of believing.

The well developed story with a satisfying ending.

The gloriously warm illustrations.

And little Jenny Black and her mom would have loved this book, too.

Jennifer Black Reinhardt

Jennifer is the illustrator and author of several acclaimed picture books. Most recently is Always by My Side, 'A Stuffie Story', which she wrote and illustrated. She also is both the author and illustrator of Playing Possum, and Blue Ethel. Jennifer illustrated Gondra’s Treasure, written by Newbery award winner Linda Sue Park. As well as, Sometimes You Fly, by Newbery medalist, Katherine Applegate. She illustrated Yaks Yak, Animal Word Pairs by Linda Sue Park, The Inventor's Secret, What Thomas Edison Told Henry Ford, by Suzanne Slade, Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons, by Alice B. McGinty, and The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz.


  1. The cover drew me in! Love the illustrations and you’ve piqued my curiosity…I have to know how it ends!! Looking forward to reading Noah’s Seal. Thanks, Jennifer!

  2. I always love seeing the books you recommend! This one looks lovely. Thanks Jennifer!

  3. Kim Pfennigwerth

    Friendship stories are the best! Looking forward to reading this one!

  4. A beautiful book! Thanks for the recommendation.

  5. Sheri Delgado Preston

    What a sweet story! The illustrations remind me of being a child. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hadn’t run across this title yet. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

  7. What an intriguing book! The illustrations are just so sweet. I can’t wait to read it!!

  8. This looks lovely! Definitely going to pick this up.
    Thank you for the recommendation!

  9. Very cute! Thanks for sharing this title with us.

  10. Sounds like a great story and wonderful inviting illustrations.

  11. Love the cover -looks adorable. I can’t wait to read it. Congrats!

  12. Such a lovely, gentle book!

  13. Looks like an enchanting story. I love the illustrations and color palette. I definitely want to know what happens with Noah’s seal!

  14. Jilanne F Hoffmann

    I just read this book, and I agree. We see Noah’s character through his thoughts, statements, questions, and actions. And the ending is lovely and inevitable.

  15. I agree about the cover art. So touching. I want to read it.

  16. Hi Cassie, I hope that you like book. I appreciate you stopping and commenting, thank you!

  17. It looks very sweet, Jennifer! I love seals 🙂

  18. Janet Frenck Sheets

    I’ve been wanting to read Noah’s Seal since I first heard about it — and after viewing these pages, I’m even more eager to see it. Thank you for spotlighting books that are truly exceptional.

  19. Sounds so appealing! Just put it on hold at my library.

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