Thursday, November 19, 2009

Jonah's Story

Jonah's Story is part of the Cecil and Friends series created by Andrew McDonough. It tells the familiar story with a few new twists.

The book opens by describing the city of Nineveh and why you wouldn't want to go there on vacation. It then introduces Jonah and explains how God asked him to deliver a message to Nineveh. Jonah, as almost everyone knows, disobeyed God and was swallowed by a great fish. After three days, he repents and the fish spits him onto dry land. This time Jonah obeys God and delivers the message to Nineveh.

When the people of Nineveh repent, God spares them. This makes Jonah very angry. He sits outside the city walls fuming until God gives him a plant for shade. This makes him happy. But then God sends a worm to eat the plant. This, again, makes Jonah upset. God sends him another message revealing Jonah's selfishness and ungodly priorities.

The cartoon illustrations are saturated with color.

What I Like: It breathes new life into an old story. The author takes creative license with funny details, like cave drawings from Ninevah and the king's "How far can I throw visitors over the wall" machine. My favorite part, though, is that this book includes the whole story. Most children's books on Jonah end with the town repenting of their evil ways. This book includes the rest of the story with Jonah pouting about God's grace and valuing a plant more than human souls.

What I Dislike: When the book mentions "drawing straws," it doesn't explain what that means. I wish it had. Also, some characters throughout this series are interchangeable. This isn't a problem if you only have one book, but if you have a number of books within the series, children may confuse stories or timelines. My two (ages 5 and 4) asked why Jonah and Zacchaeus had the same friends, if they didn't live at the same time.

Overall Rating: Very good.

Age Appeal: 4-8

Publisher Info: Zonderkidz, 2009; ISBN: 0310719488; Paperback; $4.99

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Special Info: See our reviews of other books in this series. Visit the Cecil & Friends website to learn more about the author/illustrator and the other products within this series, including "Show & Tell" Storytelling kits perfect for Sunday school or kids' clubs.

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