The reluctant prophet comes full circle with the aid of various percipient animals in Mrs. L'Engle's verse-drama, offering an unusual entree into biblical themes. Jonah is obdurate, even truculent, as he refuses to warn the people of Nineveh of God's intentions: "It's too far away in the first place./ In the second place I hate cities./ And in the third place...Nineveh is the enemy." But the birds will not let him be: Jay is impudent, Owl pontificates, Catbird explains: "It's not so much that he isn't willing to be his brother's keeper, as that he quite naturally feels he has a right to choose Just who his brother is." Stoned in Gath-hepher (Catbird: "A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country"), Jonah departs "from your presence. And His." In his travels, more troubles: a turbulent sea ("cast me forth"); an admonition in the belly of the whale ("You shall listen to me until you see the light of day/ And that will be when you decide to have not your way/ But God's way"): at Nineveh, the warning from Jonah and repentance by the populace but no wrath from God—Judah is incensed; And then "the voice of the turtle is heard in the land:" "It is easy to destroy one's enemy without suffering/ but to love him is the most terrible of pain." The philosophical interplay between Jonah and the animals advances with an easy, ironical wit that only occasionaly turns into farce, and the characterization of each is distinctive and vivid. This can be staged (and has been) but it makes intriguing reading also for the receptive young person.

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 1967

ISBN: 0374438587

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1967

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Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-670-88104-X

Page Count: 82

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 1999

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An engaging, compelling tale whose relatable young hero’s adventures link to a nation’s destiny.



In this debut middle-grade historical novel, a boy works to bring Magna Carta to reality in 13th-century England.

At harvest time in 1214, Taymor “Tay” Wallop, 14, is in a tough position. He’s inherited Swan Castle from his father, but the greedy King John is demanding an unaffordable inheritance tax and commandeering the stronghold’s harvest and farm animals. When Tay protests the unfairness of this, John gives him an out: get rid of the archbishop of Canterbury, who has offended the monarch by telling the country’s earls that the king must obey the law. As the brown son of a Syrian mother, Tay has already experienced discrimination, and fairness matters greatly to him. But if he doesn’t obey, the king will kill his father’s man at arms, Will, and Tay will lose Swan Castle. Early on his journey, Tay meets Archer, about 19, a talented bowman with a secret who’s been led by a dream to help the teen. Tay is impressed by the archbishop’s saintliness and can’t bear to kill him. Instead, the archbishop inspires Tay to embark on a mission to persuade the earls to support a new charter of fair play. Soon joined by Lucy, 12, who’s running from a forced marriage, Tay and Archer travel the country, hoping against hope to succeed. Though beset by dangers, Tay’s faith brings him—and the country’s leaders—to Runnymede for the historic sealing of Magna Carta. Useful information on history, places, and people plus a glossary are included. In her novel, Glass tells an exciting story of brave deeds and the transformation of a government, backed up by historical and cultural details that bring this long-ago world to life. The characters are well drawn, and it’s especially nice to see a person of color in a time period too often imagined as solely white. While Tay’s experience is bolstered by prayer, nonreligious readers can still respond to the universal appeal of fairness and cheer for those who risked all to bring it about.

An engaging, compelling tale whose relatable young hero’s adventures link to a nation’s destiny.

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-973671-32-9

Page Count: 254

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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