Oh No, Jonah!

Til­da Bal­s­ley; Jago, illus.
  • Review
By – November 19, 2012
Despite a suc­cinct, straight-for­ward text, this sto­ry of Jon­ah cov­ers all of the bases. The prophet’s attempt to run away from God, the storm aboard the ship to Tarshish, Jonah’s three days inside the bel­ly of a giant fish, his jour­ney to Nin­eveh, his frus­tra­tion with God’s plan to quick­ly for­give the sin­ners, and even the part about the vine and the worm are all includ­ed. As with the author’s pre­vi­ous works, Let My Peo­ple Go!, The Queen Who Saved Her Peo­ple, and Mac­cabee! (all Kar-Ben Pub­lish­ing), the rhyming text is fun to read aloud and the Oh No, Jon­ah!” refrain will invite par­tic­i­pa­tion. The dig­i­tal­ly pre­pared, mixed media illus­tra­tions are tex­tured with bold col­ors and the mul­ti-cul­tur­al cast of char­ac­ters is vibrant and expres­sive. While Jon­ah and the Two Great Fish by Mordi­cai Ger­stein (Simon and Schus­ter, 1997) and Jon­ah and the Whale and the Worm by Jean Mar­zol­lo (Lit­tle Brown & Com­pa­ny, 2004) pro­vide a more fleshed out retelling of the sto­ry, Balsley’s ver­sion can serve as both an intro­duc­tion to the sto­ry and as a spring­board for dis­cus­sion. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 – 10.

Rachel Kamin has been a syn­a­gogue librar­i­an and Jew­ish edu­ca­tor for over twen­ty-five years and has worked at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, IL since 2008, cur­rent­ly serv­ing as the Direc­tor of Life­long Learn­ing. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee and past edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries News & Reviews, her arti­cles and book reviews appear in numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions. She has been a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Library Association’s Sophie Brody Book Award Com­mit­tee since 2021.

Discussion Questions