July 28, 2010

books: jonah and the worm

Jonah and the Worm, tells the biblical story of Jonah through the perspective of a worm called, Little Worm. The worm experiences similar challenges as Jonah’s yet his story has a much different ending. In the process the worm learns the importance of obedience to God, the consequences of disobedience, the fruit of obedience and the never-ending nature of God’s love and mercy.

Jill Briscoe’s tale is cute and approachable for people of all ages. She does a fine job of remaining faithful to the biblical narrative and communicating the accepted intent of the original text. Still, not all of her attempts to add color and originality to the text work. Some additions don’t seem to add anything either imaginative or educational. And the ending seems utterly predictable children’s book material without adding anything substantive to the story.

Since this book was written with children in mind, I read it with mine. And they enjoyed the book, eagerly discussing the reflection questions at the end of each chapter. I enjoyed the book and only thought that chapter six was a bit more graphic than some families might be comfortable with. But Briscoe’s most profound addition to this ancient tale was the depiction of God as “the Wonder Maker.” The God of the Old Testament-so frequently read by today’s reader as harsh and unloving-is painted here as a God that loves yet disciplines. And this can be summed up in her depiction of God’s voice, “that sounded like a million waterfalls.” Beautiful yet overwhelming.

For those looking for material that will assist you in sharing biblical stories with your children, this may be a helpful addition. While certainly better than VeggieTales, I’d recommend The Jesus Storybook Bible over this book. The latter obviously holds more than just one biblical story but also treats the stories with more... holiness. They are not stand alone stories, but part of a Grand Narrative and should be read as such. Sometimes, I fear that books such as Briscoe’s cheapen the biblical narrative in this regard. Our kids are barraged with cute stories with talking animals. I, for one, want them to know that there’s something distinct about the stories found in Scripture. And I feel as though part of our job, as parents, is to help connect the stories together for them to see the bigger story of God at work. If that seems like a big deal... believe me, your kids are more ready for that than you are most likely.

Posted via email from jason evans

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