Oh No, Jonah
Written by Tilda Balsey
Illustrated by Jago
Many bible stories have been made into children’s books. The story of Jonah is a popular story to embellish or illustrate and it’s almost always turned into a great fish tale. The Biblical account of Jonah’s folly is not so much about the fish, but about Jonah’s disobedience and God’s forgiveness. In the end Jonah still doesn’t change his heart. We’ve seldom heard this more accurate account of Jonah in children’s literature but Oh No, Jonah not only is biblically accurate, but its fantastic artwork by Jago will give kids a vivid picture of this whale of a tale.
Oh No, Jonah begins with the depraved condition in Nineveh and God’s command for Jonah to go and beseech them to repent. Jonah runs from God and wounds up on a ship going in the opposite direction. When a storm comes, Jonah is thrown overboard and lands himself in the belly of the whale. All of this was God’s way of getting Jonah’s attention and while He’s got it, Jonah repents and promises to go to Nineveh. Jonah reluctantly brings God’s call for repentance to the Ninevites, who listen and turn to God. Jonah’s not only surprised by their change of heart, but is even angry that God grants them mercy. In the end Jonah leaves angry at God. God is merciful to Jonah and gives him another chance, but sadly he hardens his heart.
Author Tilda Balsley doesn’t shy away from these difficult Biblical truths in Oh No, Jonah. She writes in an easy to read, rhyming style that brings the story to life and will encourage children to read the entire book in one sitting. Oh No, Jonah is written at a second grade reading level, but is appropriate for younger children and will appeal to older children as well. Illustrator Jago’s distinctive style clearly captures Jonah’s story with bright colors, details and interesting patterns. His work brings the story to life. Nineveh is a scary place, the storm was wild, and Jonah had real fear. All of this was impeccably captured by Jago and will draw children into the story.
Oh No, Jonah is a timeless Bible story that will show kids God’s mercy as He gives Jonah and the people of Nineveh many chances to do what’s right. It would make a great read aloud or addition to any elementary age reading list, especially if joined by the authors other bible story books, listed on the last page. Oh No, Jonah would also be valuable as a devotional lesson for kids bible study or Sunday school class.