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Author: Jean Marzollo

Illustrator: Jean Marzollo

Reserve at the Library

Publisher: Little Brown and Company,

Material: hard cover

Summary: This is the story of what happens to Jonah when he disobeys the Lord and gets caught in the middle of a storm. Jonah realizes he caused the storm, and he has the crew of the boat throw him overboard. A whale swallows Jonah, who and confesses his disobedience. When the whale spits him out he goes where he was told to go. This book is the retelling of the Biblical story of Jonah and the Whale.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, playtime reading, read aloud book, remedial reader

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 8; read yourself: 8 to 10

Interest Level: 4 to 8

Reading Level: 3.5

Age of Child: Read with a 5-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter liked the story and wanted to immediately re-read it. She knew the story because they had read it at school. She commented on how the men must have felt bad when they threw Jonah overboard and how happy they must have felt when the storm they were in stopped. She liked the images of when Jonah is in the whale and the little fishes are making comments to each other.

Adult Reader Reaction: I thought it was a very good retelling of the Bible story. They did a good job keeping to the Biblical version and making the pictures more like a cartoon to keep the children’s interest. I didn’t think my daughter would like it as much as she did. I thought since she knew the story so well she would be bored. She surprised me by saying she liked this book as much as reading the story from her Bible.

Pros: This is an excellent presentation of this Biblical story. It has all of the critical components, but it is more appropriate for a child in the first or second grade. It also offers more than just the basic story of a man being swallowed by a whale.

Cons: For me, it is the illustrations. They look like a child did them and was in a hurry. However, my daughter liked them.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. I would buy this book for a church library or a family member. It is an excellent retelling of the story for children who are old enough to want to know more then just the simple story of a man getting swallowed by a whale.


Educational Themes: This is a book about choices and consequences. It helps kids see that all decisions have consequences, and sometimes they affect more than just ourselves. We need to obey those in authority because they usually do know what is best for us.

Literary Categories: Nonfiction - picture book, Christian, life lessons

Date(s) Reviewed: March 2009

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