JONAH AND THE BIG FISH by Susan Collins Thoms

JONAH AND THE BIG FISH

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 4
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A popular Sunday school story in board-book format.

The story of Jonah's disobedience and subsequent repentance while in the belly of a big fish (depicted as a whale) is retold in simple language: “Jonah found himself inside the belly of the fish. And that’s where he stayed for three days and three nights.” The illustrations feature round-faced, bearded, olive-skinned men dressed in robes like those used in a Bible school pageant. The most lively part of the story is the storm scene with flashing lightning, booming thunder, and waves battering the ship. In the original, the sailors cast lots to discover who has brought God's wrath to the ship, but here, Jonah calmly volunteers to be thrown overboard. Further, Jonah suffers no anguish while in the whale's belly but quickly turns to prayer. He is shown kneeling in a pristine white robe along with another fish, a bird, and a turtle. Thoms makes some awkwardly modern word choices. Jonah “hopped” on a ship, and the whale says “Blooeey” when it spits Jonah out. With none of the nuance of the original text, the complex tale of God's compassion and Jonah's faith is reduced to a didactic lesson of obedience.

To introduce the literal version of the Bible story this is an acceptable choice, but since it lacks complexity and nuance, one wonders whether the story shouldn’t be saved for an older audience that’s ready for it. (Board book. 2-4)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1493-8
Page count: 22pp
Publisher: Sterling
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2016




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