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JONAH by Christful Apps


developed by Christful Apps adapted by Laura Towers illustrated by Brian Caleb Dumm

Age Range: 2 - 4

Pub Date: Dec. 20th, 2011
Publisher: ZunZun Books LLC

This Bible story could’ve been spectacular on the iPad, but this version is about as exciting as watching paint dry.

Jonah doesn’t want to preach to the residents of Nineveh so he hops on a boat to escape. From there, the brief story unfolds in a rapid succession of events: God creates a maritime storm; the crew throws Jonah overboard; a whale swallows him; Jonah repents; the whale vomits him up; and Jonah finally delivers God’s message to the wicked Ninevites. The illustrations are pleasant but blandly uninspiring, and the only “interactive” feature is the ability to move a thought bubble around on one page, which—weirdly enough—leaves behind the severed arms of the would-be rioters Jonah is imagining. Scant animation is so slight it’s hard to detect without a lingering stare. The only thing worse than the technological and aesthetic deficiencies is the story’s shallow, reductive moralizing. The story begins with a declaration that Jonah is one of God’s favorites (a designation the Biblical text never makes) and in essence conveys that God has favorites and you won’t be one of them unless you follow the rules. Interestingly enough, the developers left out the part of the story where Jonah wants to die because he’s angry that God had mercy on the Ninevites.

A minnow of a story at a whale of a price. (iPad storybook app. 2-4)