Two books about Jonah to review today – a simplistic one with colorful pictures that correctly relates Jonah’s story in poetry, and one that goes a little deeper into the account.
First the one that is written more simplistically.
(Notice that the illustrator’s last name is “Marlin.” That’s kind of fun.)
Like I said, this book is written in poetry and reviews the account up to when the fish spit Jonah out on shore. The book does not talk about Jonah’s eventual trip to Nineveh. This worked well for the lesson I was teaching to a group of kindergarten – second graders because my emphasis was temptation. Jonah yielded to the temptation not to follow God’s direction and didn’t bother praying about it until he was inside the fish. (I think being inside a fish would make even a non-believer pray.)
But the book doesn’t stop there. In the middle of the book, the reader is told to flip it over.
I have always been 100 percent against animals, plants, houses, etc. talking about God in kids’ storybooks. I think that takes away from the divinity of God and the seriousness of His words. Yet, in this case, I think it works. First of all, the fish was used by God in a special and unique way. Second, this part of the book emphasizes that God created the fish with a specific plan in mind. The book helps kids understand it wasn’t simply a whale swimming by that just happened to mix Jonah up with his usual plankton breakfast. (I did explain to the kids that fish don’t talk or think.)
Everyone loved the book.
The second book goes deeper into Jonah’s story and I would recommend you use this one in the home – unless you have a class of kids that have grown up in an environment where they have been taught a lot about the Bible both in church and from parents. ( I think some in the group where I was teaching would’ve understood the second book, but not the majority.)
This book takes the account of Jonah and shows how his story is a foreshadowing of Christ.
Jonah didn’t want to do God’s will – Christ did.
The sailors didn’t want to kill Jonah – the people wanted to kill Christ.
Jonah was in the fish for three days – Christ was in the tomb for three days.
Again, to me, this is more of a one-on-one book to read with a child, but a great concept for them to learn.
The pictures in this book are more artistic in nature and not as kid-friendly as the first book.
Both of these books called the fish a fish and not a whale, which I appreciated. The Bible gives us no indication that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.