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OH NO, JONAH! by Tilda Balsley


by Tilda Balsley & illustrated by Jago

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7613-5139-9
Publisher: Kar-Ben

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)