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.
Oh No, Jonah!
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.
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