Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Jonah and the Great Big Fish

Jonah and the Great Big Fish, by Rhonda Gowler Greene, tells the well-known Bible story in rhyme. Unlike many similar offerings, Greene's is a pretty thorough retelling, beginning with God commanding Jonah to travel to Ninevah and preach to the people there. Instead, Jonah tries to flee from God, boarding a ship sailing away from Ninevah.

"As he rested
down below,
a mighty wind began to blow.
Angry waves
from the sea
whipped that ship so violently.
Splashing, crashing
waves so tall
made that ship prove weak and small."

Finally, the sailors throw Jonah overboard in order to save themselves, and a drowning Jonah is swallowed by a big fish (a whale, in the illustrations by Santiago Cohen). Jonah repents and the whale spits him out onto land. God once again tells Jonah to go to Ninevah and preach, and this time "Jonah listened...and obeyed."

What I Like: I appreciate the completeness of this picture book. Rather than being a too-simple story of a man being swallowed by a whale, the author thoroughly explains how Jonah ended up in that predicament...and how he got himself out of it (by obeying God). Cohen's illustrations are modern, sketchy, and almost cartoonish. The images of life before and after the storm are bright, while the illustrations during the storm - and especially inside the whale - are quite dark...A nice touch.

What I Dislike: Nothing.

Overall Rating: Very Good.

Age Appeal: According to the publisher, 4 - 8, but many toddlers will like this book, too.

Publishing Info: Zonderkidz, 2007; ISBN: 0310710995; hard back, $9.99.

Buy Now at Amazon for $9.99.

Special Info: Visit the author's website for more information about her books and school visits, teaching ideas, writing and publishing tips, and more. To take a peek at Cohen's art, check out his website. Also, you may want to check out my review of Greene and Cohen's Zacchaeus and the Happy Day.

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