Oh No, Jonah!

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The story of Jonah and God's command to him to warn the misbehaving people of Ninevah is retold in a rhyming narrative that brings out the reluctant prophet's continual noncompliance. In an introductory illustration depicting a biblical community of contentious men, Jonah looks on and disagrees with God's request to warn them of impending consequences. " ‘Preach,' said Jonah. / ‘That's not fun-- / Ragging, nagging everyone.' " Jonah decides to run away, claiming that no one will appreciate his moralizing. He boards a ship headed in the opposite direction from Ninevah, but God's wrath stirs a huge storm that only subsides after Jonah realizes he must leave. He allows the sailors to throw him overboard and is promptly swallowed by a huge fish. Forced to rethink his original decision, he agrees to comply with God's command, yet after the deed is done and the repentant Ninevites have changed their wicked ways, he fumes that God decided to forgive them rather than punish them. Jonah must accept God's rationale after he loses his own comfort under the cooling shade of a tree. The rhyming verse ably encapsulates each of Jonah's negative and contemptuous reactions, which are followed by the refrain, "Oh no, Jonah," meant to be shouted aloud by listeners or readers. Acrylics on textured canvas of robed and bearded men with long hooked noses and a variety of complexions create a rather stereotypical illusion of the ancient world. A rousing rendition of the familiar tale. (Picture book. 4-7)
Publishers Weekly
The biblical story of Jonah the reluctant and cranky prophet is retold in gorgeous color and catchy rhyme. Balsley (Let My People Go) casts into verse the familiar story of Jonah and the whale (or great fish) as well as what happens after Jonah finally gets to Nineveh and a merciful God forgives the city’s transgressors, much to the prophet’s chagrin. The focus of Balsley’s retold story becomes forgiveness (“and showing us how to forgive”), an interpretation that actually simplifies a problematic biblical book about a prophet who ducks his duty and then gets mad at God. Jago’s illustrations make the story child-friendly: the “great fish” that gobbles Jonah looks like a giant orange goldfish, and his color palette is warm and jewel-like. The book is probably best for younger children; it can acquaint them with a cultural trope without their raising theological questions about a less than heroic prophet. Ages 5–10. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
The biblical story of Jonah and the whale is one of the first Bible stories children learn. The imagery of the angry storm, the tossing boat and the huge fish captures their imagination and is a story that they can easily remember. However, the story of Jonah is also a story of forgiveness, trust and obedience. When Jonah received the message from God, he should have trusted God to know what was best for him. Instead, Jonah tried to hide by catching a ride on a ship, headed for Tarshish. When the angry storm caused his shipmates to toss him overboard, he should have been thankful that his God provided for him, even when he was disobedient. When Jonah finally reached Nineveh and finally was obedient to God's message, he should have been forgiving of the people of Nineveh because God had forgiven them, and because God had forgiven Jonah of his disobedience. These are lessons that the youngest children can grasp and that can be related to their everyday lives. Award-winning illustrator Jago has selected dark, earthy colors to illustrate the story, giving the pages a deep richness. The details of tears on Jonah's face and holes in the leaves of the vine enrich the story even more. The author's signature rhyme patterns will be a delight to young readers and will ensure that this volume will become a read-aloud favorite. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761351399
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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