Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review :: Jonah and the Great Big Fish by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Margaret Spengler

Jonah and the Great Big Fish is a children's picture book by Rhonda Gowler Greene, written in rhyme. The story is taken from the book of Jonah.

Although the story is taken from the biblical account of Jonah, it does not follow the story all the way through, but rather ends at the point where Jonah obeys God's command to go to Nineveh. I think the ending as is keeps the focus on obedience to God, but obviously in your discussions with your children you will want to expand into the whole story and discuss the repentant hearts of the Ninevites.
There were a few things I really appreciated about this book and a couple small things that I am unsure of. I appreciated the overall focus of obedience in this book. I was also glad to see the book refer to a big fish rather than a whale.

When I first read the book, I was unsure what I thought of the wording where God tells Jonah to tell the Ninevites that "they need to repent". From my very un-expert opinion of the biblical account, it seems that God does not ask for repentance, but rather tells Jonah to tell the Ninevites that Ninevah will be overturned. Also, I wish the wording was a little different where Jonah is praying from inside the great fish - it almost sounds like Jonah is praying for three days before God even hears his prayers. That to me is one thing that I will be sure to discuss further with my children when reading this book - God always hears our prayers and knows them even before we pray them, but it may be awhile before we can "hear" His response.

The illustrations by Margaret Spengler are great - it appears to be airbrushed, which gives it a very "soft" feel. The colors are beautiful and the illustrations fill each full two-page spread.

Overall, this is a cute book with a great message to read with your young ones.
FTC Declaration: The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book or advanced reading copy. This does not change the fact that I will give my honest opinion in my reviews.

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