Jonah and the Two Great Fish

Overview

Jonah is a reluctant prophet. When God chooses him to warn the people of Nivevah that He will destroy their city unless they change their wicked ways, Jonah tries to run away. But he can't escape from God, even underwater, in the belly of a great fish--or in a second, even greater fish! 32 pp.

Retells the Old Testament story of the man who disobeyed God's wishes and was swallowed by a great fish.

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Overview

Jonah is a reluctant prophet. When God chooses him to warn the people of Nivevah that He will destroy their city unless they change their wicked ways, Jonah tries to run away. But he can't escape from God, even underwater, in the belly of a great fish--or in a second, even greater fish! 32 pp.

Retells the Old Testament story of the man who disobeyed God's wishes and was swallowed by a great fish.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Chernak
Did you know that Jonah had not one but two experiences in the belly of a fish? Ancient legend embellishes the well-known tale by pointing out that God, in great mercy, at first provided the prophet with a rather comfortable environment within a great fish. When that didn't achieve the desired result of Jonah's bending to his fate and going to Nineveh to foretell its destruction, God was forced to send an even bigger and more dismal fish to finish the job. Richly deep-toned oils on vellum paintings lend majesty to one of the world's favorite stories.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3A delightful version of Jonah's journey to Ninevah combines some charming legends from Jewish tradition with the basic Bible story. The text is simple and straightforward for early readers, and makes a lively and colorful read-aloud. Jonah is first swallowed by a fish in which he lives in luxury for three days, before being swallowed again by a larger, less comfortable, variety, from which he is glad to be expelled on the shore near Ninevah. What sets the book apart from the many fine versions of the Jonah story are the enthralling oil paintings that sparkle with humor, imagination, and absorbing details. Done in a richly hued folk-art style that is sophisticated in its depiction of character and its balance and rhythm, the pictures are brimming with life and warmth. When God speaks to Jonah, his amorphous, bearded head, with a moon, star, sun, or bird to mark his eye, looms in the sky above, or his powerful, directing hand is outlined in the clouds. In a varied format, some illustrations are framed neatly, and some flow freely across double-page spreads. The typeface is clear and well spaced. Even if Peter Spier's The Book of Jonah Doubleday, 1985; o.p., Geoffrey Patterson's Jonah and the Whale Lothrop, 1992, Beverly Brodsky's Jonah Lippincott, 1977; o.p., and Warwick Hutton's Jonah and the Great Fish MacMillan, 1984; o.p. are already in your collections, make room for Gerstein's Jonah as well.Patricia Pearl Dole, formerly at First Presbyterian School, Martinsville, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689813733
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 9 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 10.79 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Mordicai Gerstein
Mordicai Gerstein
Mordicai Gerstein was already a talented children’s book illustrator when he decided to start writing children’s books of his own. Since then, he has released dozens of titles and has won nearly as many awards for his stories of childhood innocence, spiritual exploration, and imagination gone wild. His biographical story of tightrope walker Philippe Petit won the 2004 Caldecott Medal, making The Man Who Walked Between the Towers the most distinguished American picture book for children in 2004.

Biography

Mordicai Gerstein has always been an artist. As a child, he enjoyed painting and eventually graduated from art school in Los Angeles. He continued painting in New York City and supported himself and his family for 25 years by designing and directing animated television commercials. He says, "I had always loved cartoons, especially Bugs Bunny, and I found I enjoyed making animated films. Even a 30-second commercial involved drawing and painting, storytelling, not to mention actors, music, and sound effects."

During the 1960s, Gerstein made several films that received critical acclaim. In 1966, The Room won the Award of the Film Clubs of France at the International Festival for Experimental Film, and in 1968, The Magic Ring won a CINE Golden Eagle.

His career took a dramatic turn when he met children's author Elizabeth Levy in 1970. He has illustrated her Something Queer Is Going On chapter books ever since, and it was Levy and her editor who encouraged Gerstein to write a book on his own. His debut came in 1983 with Arnold of the Ducks, the story of a young boy who gets lost in the wild and is raised by ducks. The New York Times hailed Gerstein's freshman effort as one of the year's best children's books, and he went on to write two more volumes exploring the theme of feral childhood. In 1998 he released The Wild Boy, a picture book based on the true story of a young 18th-century French boy who was found living in the woods and was put on display as an oddity, only to escape and be captured again years later. That same year, Gerstein released Victor, a young adult novel about the same boy.

Gerstein tells the story is of a Tibetan woodcutter who is given a choice between reincarnation or heaven in The Mountains of Tibet, which received the distinction of being one of 1987's ten best illustrated books of the year, according to The New York Times. Although the book is written for kids around age seven, Gerstein approaches the subject of death with a bold, sensitive plot and elegant illustrations. Spirituality is a major theme in many of Gerstein's books. He has interpreted tales from the Bible in Jonah and the Two Great Fish (1997), Noah and the Great Flood (1999), and Queen Esther the Morning Star (2001). Other titles such as The Seal Mother (1986), The Story of May (1993), and The Shadow of a Flying Bird (1994) also express Gerstein's reverential awe for the world.

Young readers can also stretch their imaginations with Gerstein's more playful books. Vocabulary is fun in The Absolutely Awful Alphabet (1999), where the letter P is actually a particularly putrid predator! Bedtime Everybody! (1996) has a young girl's stuffed animals planning a bedtime picnic. Behind the Couch (1996) takes readers on an exciting caper into an unknown world of grazing dust balls, Lost Coin Hill and the Valley of the Stuffed Animals. In Stop Those Pants (1998), a boy is forced to play hide-and-seek with his clothes as he gets ready for the day. Gerstein pays tribute to American composer Charles Ives in What Charlie Heard (2002), the story of a boy's unique talent for interpreting all the sounds of daily life.

Another biographical picture book, The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (2003) tells the story of Philippe Petit, the daredevil who walked across a tightrope suspended between New York City's World Trade Center towers in 1974. The book won the Caldecott Medal in 2004, and parents have praised the book as an invaluable tool for talking to their children about the events of 9/11.

Many of Gerstein's children's books are destined to be classics. His style of writing and illustration brings each of his stories to life, shows a passion for adventure, and relishes the joy that comes from understanding the mysteries of the world.

Good To Know

Despite a successful career illustrating children's books, the first book Gerstein wrote, Arnold of the Ducks, was turned down by seven publishers. Eventually, The New York Times called it one of the best children's books of the year.

Gerstein was inspired to write The Mountains of Tibet after reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead.

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    1. Hometown:
      Northhampton, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1935
    2. Place of Birth:
      Los Angeles, California
    1. Education:
      Chouinard Institute of Art
    2. Website:

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