Book Review: Jonah and the Great Big Fish
Reading Level: Leisure
Jonah and the Great Big Fish (henceforth Jonah) is a short rhyming verse and picture book. Written by Rhonda Gowler Greene and illustrated by Margaret Spengler Jonah is intended for children age 4-8. Cutting to the chase, our 2 ½ year old daughter loves this book. We’re a big reading family and it is not uncommon for her to sit through books of longer text and fewer pictures. But in Jonah the rhyming lines and full-page artwork have certainly met her approval. Every time Jonah is read she asks for it again. This does lead me to think the book could be longer (more on this later) but presently it’s quite the hit.
Having met the child stamp of approval, evaluations from an adult perspective remain. The rhyming of Jonah is good. Some of the lines push the bounds of proper English and it may take a couple times through the book for a parent to feel comfortable with each line. The illustrations are good and fit well with the overall tone. The content of Jonah is accurate in the elements that it depicts including the literal “great fish” instead of “whale.” The only questionable element of the content is the abrupt ending. Jonah ends before Jonah the prophet arrives in Nineveh. For some this exclusion might be paramount to missing the main story. However, the book of Jonah really can be broken into three separate sections 1) Jonah’s rebellions and repentance, 2) Nineveh’s repentance and 3) God’s “repentance” and restoration of Nineveh. I am not off put by Jonah’s focus on the first portion of this complicated story.
In conclusion, Jonah and the Great Big Fish passes the kiddo and adult test. It’s being added to a crowded bookshelf but it will never get read just once.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”