Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Jonah's Whale

Jonah's Whale

5.0 1
by Eileen Spinelli, Giuliano Ferri (Illustrator)

God made Whale and gave him a home in the blue-deep waters of the sea, a family with whom he could play and splash, and a joyful song to sing. And then one day, when a wild storm raged above, God gave Whale a job to do. Whale"s faithful spirit fills the pages of this vibrant story and gives a new twist to the classic, well-loved biblical tale.

Eileen Spinelli"s


God made Whale and gave him a home in the blue-deep waters of the sea, a family with whom he could play and splash, and a joyful song to sing. And then one day, when a wild storm raged above, God gave Whale a job to do. Whale"s faithful spirit fills the pages of this vibrant story and gives a new twist to the classic, well-loved biblical tale.

Eileen Spinelli"s charming retelling of this familiar story will delight readers of all ages, as will Giuliano Ferri"s rich and vivid illustrations.

Watch the trailer:

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Spinelli (Something to Tell the Grandcows) freshens the familiar titular Bible story by showing events from the point of view of the whale. He is big and he has lots of teeth, but he is also playful and majestic, and sings joyfully to praise God. One day during a fierce storm God commands him: “Save the man Jonah.” Down the hatch goes the prophet, and the whale waits, patient, puzzled, and eventually queasy, for further instruction. Of course it comes, and thereafter prophet and whale are bonded. Spinelli’s spin on the whale tale is gentle. Full-bleed watercolor and colored pencil illustrations by Ferri (Ant and Grasshopper) are appropriately scaled for the leviathan subject, and the soft blue palette and undulating lines of the sea reinforce a soothing sense that God will indeed deliver. Ages 4–8. (Mar.) ¦
From the Publisher
Foreword Reviews
"Both approachable and packed with information, this mini biography introduces children to the history of the thesaurus and its author, inspiring interest in nature, categorization, intellectualism, and the myriad ideas and uses of language."
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Whale lives happily in the sea until the night God tells him to rescue a drowning man and, subsequently, to spit that man onto the shore. The text is lyrical and the cartoonlike watercolors are lush, but this picture book must be read as a companion to the biblical story of Jonah. It does not stand on its own and is written strictly from the whale's point of view. Whale learns no lesson from his encounter with Jonah; his faith never wavers, so it is not reaffirmed; and he never discovers the point of the incident. A good choice for collections that also include the original story.—Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Kirkus Reviews
The familiar biblical story is told from the perspective of the swallowing whale. God sends a newly created sperm whale a family to ease his loneliness and plenty of fish to assuage his hunger. Whale plays and sings and glides through the sea. There are fishermen about, so humankind has also appeared. One stormy night Whale hears Jonah taking the blame for the storm and begging to be thrown overboard. When he is tossed to the sea, God directs Whale to save him. Not knowing how to accomplish this, he opens his mouth, slurps and swallows Jonah. But, "Now what?" wonders Whale. Whale is reasonably patient, but he begins to feel abandoned and queasy, sympathizing with Jonah, who must be feeling the same way. So he sings to the man, hears God's response in the music and spits Jonah safely onto land. Employing lovely, descriptive language with contemporary syntax in brief, pointed sentences, Spinelli makes the Bible story accessible for young readers by turning the tale around and focusing not on the human, but on the faithful whale. Whale is grateful, obedient and caring of God's other creatures, and he shines with goodness. Ferri's watercolor-and-pencil illustrations glow in blues, greens and yellows that deepen to grays and purples during the storm. A spiritually satisfying whale of a tale. (Picture book. 4-9)

Product Details

Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 12.10(h) x 0.60(d)
530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Eileen Spinelli

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

Copyright © 2012 Eileen Spinelli
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5382-0

Chapter One

God made Whale. God gave Whale a home in the blue-deep waters of the sea.

Whale was lonely. God gave Whale a family that splashed and twirled and played and nuzzled one another tenderly.

Whale was hungry. God sent him silvery sea-clouds of fish.

Whale was happy.

God gave Whale a joyful song to sing. The song rippled through the bright waves.

Days passed. Whale romped. He swam on his back, both flippers in the air. He slapped the water with his strong tail, soaking fishermen and their lunches.

Nights passed. Whale glided through the moonlit mist. Winking stars twinkled him to sleep.

One day the sky turned gray. It rained. A soft wind blew. Whale swam light and free as drops spattered the early dark.

By nightfall the sky turned eerie green. The wind blew wild. Thunder rumbled. Lightning split the air. Waves rose high. Whale heard the groaning of a boat ... the moaning of men shaken and afraid. Whale followed the sound. He saw the boat tossing about, almost breaking apart.


Excerpted from JONAH'S WHALE by Eileen Spinelli Copyright © 2012 by Eileen Spinelli. Excerpted by permission of Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Eileen Spinelli's love of books began at age five,during her first visit to the local public library. ?Iclimbed up the steps to the children's room on the secondfloor and into a wonderland! Books everywhere . . . Ididn't know which book to grab first,? she explains. ?Itmade no difference to me that I couldn't read.? After that,young Eileen visited the library every Saturday with hermother. After a few years of library visits, she knew shewanted to become a writer.

Giuliano Ferri has illustrated over thirty-five children's books, published both internationally and in the U.S. His most recent titles include Peace on Earth: Poems and Prayers for Peace (Lion Hudson) and Ant and Grasshopper (Margaret K

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Jonah's Whale 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
12cutiepie More than 1 year ago
Eileen Spinelli and her husband Jerry Spinelli have written some of my favorite books to share with children. Okay, so they are some of MY favorites. This one is another favorite. Jonah's Whale is the retelling of the Biblical story with a twist. It is told from the Whale's perspective. The whale is happy living and playing in the ocean. One day a storm come up and he sees a boat. A man in the boat is telling the other men to throw him into the water to stop the storm. God speaks to the whale and tells him to save the man. This is such a great lesson to talk about with your young one. If God expects obedience from the animals then we need to obey God as well. The illustrations are so gorgeous that they could each be framed and hung. This is one that I will enjoy sharing with my granddaughter. Because I like it so much I'm purchasing a copy to keep here on my shelves for all of my grandchildren to share.