The Book of Jonah


Two-time Caldecott illustrator Peter Spier’s visual retelling of a favorite Bible story is back in print! In a tale full of action, adventure, and strife, Jonah is asked by God to tell the people of Nineveh to mend their wicked ways. Fleeing from this enormous task, Jonah sets sail and is thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish. What follows is Jonah’s journey to acceptance of God’s love and grace.
A reference section at the end ...

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Two-time Caldecott illustrator Peter Spier’s visual retelling of a favorite Bible story is back in print! In a tale full of action, adventure, and strife, Jonah is asked by God to tell the people of Nineveh to mend their wicked ways. Fleeing from this enormous task, Jonah sets sail and is thrown overboard and swallowed by a great fish. What follows is Jonah’s journey to acceptance of God’s love and grace.
A reference section at the end of the book shares historical and geographical notes about the story, including details about the ship Jonah might have sailed on and a fascinating discussion of the ancient city of Nineveh and the location of its ruins in present-day Iraq.

Retells the Biblical story of the man who spent three days and three nights in the belly of a great fish. Includes historical material on Jonah's world.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Last available in hardcover over 15 years ago, this beautifully retold Bible story is again available. Like his Caldecott-Medal winning Noah's Ark, Spier's The Book of Jonah features detailed line drawings with eye-catching watercolors. Jonah is a man on the run, afraid to fulfil the task God has set before him. With panels reminiscent of graphic novel-style storytelling, Jonah's tale unfolds with the requite drama and tension. Helpful information about the Assyrian Empire in the eighth century BC and a labeled drawing of the Ship of Tarshish are included in the back matter. A fantastic addition for Bible story collections.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Scholarship and artistic imagination inform the second work based on the Bible by the Caldecott Medalist. Like Spier's version of Noah's Ark, his story of disobedient Jonah retains the drama of the original, and the full-color pictures are wonderful, enhanced by details that mark them distinctively Spier's. Older boys and girls and adults will find the author's afterword additionally absorbing. He cites studies that place the story of Jonah between 400 b.c. and 200 b.c. by a writer aiming to prove that sincere repentance wins God's forgiveness. There is a history of Nineveh illustrated by maps showing ancient and modern areas, the latter pinpointing the city's ruins today. This is where God commanded Jonah to go and urge the citizens to reform, a duty he tried to escape by taking a ship to Tarshish, only to sink into the belly of the whale before getting a second chance to obey. (All ages)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 Unlike his Noah's Ark (Doubleday, 1977), Spier has included the text from the Bible along with his usual delightful illustrations. Noah's humanity is fully exposedhis fear, obedience, anger and acceptance. Each picture is a story in itself, busy, colorful and page-filling, but never intruding on the text. The glossy paper stock of the book makes the pictures more colorful and alive than they are in Noah's Ark . Some who accept the Bible literally may be bothered by Spier's statement that Nineveh was three days journey from where the fish vomited out Jonahboth the King James and the New American versions indicate instead that Nineveh was so large that it took three days to cross. The Book of Jonah is an excellent lap or read-to book, and will be of some interest to older middle-schoolers. Valuable historical material dealing with Nineveh, Joppa and Tarshish in Noah's time, including archaeological maps and findings and diagrams of the Phoenician ships of the day, is located on the back endpapers. Unfortunately the jacket flap covers some of this information. Despite its shortcomings, The Book of Jonah is a delightful addition to the collection, and libraries will want to own at least one copy. Warwick Hutton's illustrations in Jonah and the Great Fish (Atheneum, 1984) are more human and appealing, but the book ends with Jonah being spit out of the fish's mouth and does not have the historical information that Spier's version has. Nancy Schmidtmann, Our Lady of Mercy School Library, Hicksville, N.Y.
From The Critics
With great skill and charming, fullcolor illustrations, Peter Spier brings to life all of Jonah's biblically recorded travels and tribulations for young readers. The Book Of Jonah begins with his flight to Turshish, the raging storm at sea, three days and nights in the belly of a great fish, the journey to Ninevah, Jonah's's anger with the Lord, and the lesson of the vine. The Book Of Jonah is a wonderful retelling of a favorite Bible story that will be read with deep enjoyment and inspiration by young readers and is a recommended addition to any family, bible school, Sunday school, or community library picturebook collection.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385379090
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 1/27/2015
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 677,818
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Since his arrival in the United States from Holland in 1952, Peter Spier has become one of this country’s most popular and renowned illustrators. Mr. Spier received the Caldecott Medal for Noah’s Ark and a Caldecott Honor for The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night. People received the Christopher Award, was nominated for the American Book Award, and received the National Mass Media Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews for “outstanding contributions to better human relations and the cause of brotherhood.” Mr. Spier has illustrated over one hundred books, and his work can be found in museums and private collections across the country. In addition to illustrating and writing, he is an avid and celebrated builder of model ships. Mr. Spier and his wife live in Shoreham, New York.

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