by meredith day
Imagine that your Sunday school class meets in a rundown seafood restaurant.
Your teachers are a bunch of lazy pirates whose greatest pride is that theyve
never done anything. They tell you a story about a man who tries to get out of
going to Nineveh and winds up in the belly of a big fish. And the most
frightening part of the story is that the Ninevites are infamous not for lying
or stealing, but for slapping their enemies with fish. Oh, and one more
thingyoure a walking, talking vegetable.
Youve entered the world of VeggieTales, the popular series of childrens
videos and products that will reach an even larger audience when Big Idea
Productions, Inc. releases its first feature-length film, JonahA
VeggieTales Movie, on October 4.
The film, produced and distributed by Big Idea and Artisan Entertainments
Family Home Entertainment Pictures, is a retelling of the story of Jonah, with
a few twists that you didnt learn in Sunday school.
The Veggie version of Jonahs story begins as Dad and Junior Asparagus, Bob
the Tomato and other Veggies take off in a van to see their favorite singer in
After several misadventures, the Veggies find themselves in a seafood
restaurant inhabited by the lazy Pirates Who Dont Do Anything.
When two Veggie kids argue over a lost concert ticket, the pirates begin to
tell the story of Jonah, who ended up on their ship many years ago after
running away from Gods instructions for him to carry a message to the
During his journey, Jonah meets a carpet salesman caterpillar named Khalil,
gets trapped inside a whale and finally makes it to Nineveh, where he learns
what VeggieTales creators hope their audience learns: everyone deserves a
The redemptive message of the film is no coincidence; the mission of Big
Idea is to markedly enhance the moral and spiritual fabric of our society
through creative media.
Phil Vischer, Big Idea CEO and VeggieTales co-creator, began his company in
1989 with a vision for creating value-driven childrens media. The VeggieTales
half-hour videos, which have sold more than 25 million copies, include lessons
on courage, generosity, honesty, forgiveness and trust in God.
JonahA VeggieTales Movie presents an opportunity for on
mission Christians to share the gospel with parents and children who are
more likely to visit a movie theater than a local church.
Before you see the movie:
Host a Whale-Watching Party. Big Idea has developed a kit for churches to
celebrate the release of Jonah. The kit includes a VeggieTales video
of silly songs and clips from Jonah, door prizes and party-planning ideas. A
VeggieTales Whale-Watching Party provides an opportunity for your church to
plan and promote an event for the entire community.
Visit the Jonah website, www.jonahmovie.com with your children. The site provides
games, cast profiles and updates on Jonah. Viewing the site with your
children can lead to discussion about the values shown in the film and ways for
your children to share those values with their friends.
When you visit the theater:
Make your trip to see Jonah an outreach event for you and your family.
Invite neighbors and their children to see the film with you. Parents who take
their children to the film will be hooked by the humor and high-quality
production. They also cant miss the message of the value of a second
Suggest the movie to other parents. Every parent cares about what their
child sees. By encouraging friends to take their children to see Jonah, you
open yourself to discussion about the values in the film.
Look for ways to inject discussion of the films values into conversation
with other parents. By calling attention to the spiritual ideas in Jonah, you
allow others to see your faith as something that affects your values and
Imagine again your Sunday school class, except move from the seafood
restaurant to a darkened theater. Instead of a lazy pirate, you are the
teacher, given the opportunity to share a fun experience with friends and their
children and to offer further explanation of the Source of all second
Visit the JonahA VeggieTales Movie website at www.jonahmovie.com.
Order the Whale-Watching Party kit by visiting www.bigidea.com.
Meredith Day is an editorial intern at NAMB. Ruth Lundgren, who lives in
Winfield, Illinois, also contributed to this story.
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