In this new picture book by Eric Kimmel and Tamara Anegon, Miriam, a little girl hoping to practice her shofar-blowing, meets an annoying obstacle. A giant Sasquatch, also known as Bigfoot or Yeti, is after the apples in her family’s orchard. As Rosh Hashanah approaches, she needs some peace and quiet in order to produce a resounding “tekiah, shevarim, and teruah,” but the messy creature keeps loudly crunching his favorite snack. Miriam’s irritation intensifies — bent on stopping him, she imagines herself as Joshua, bringing down the walls of Jericho — but she eventually turns to compassion when she realizes that the Sasquatch’s need for food and friendship deserves to be recognized, especially on the joyful festival of Rosh Hashanah.
In an unfolding sequence of events, Miriam realizes that first impressions can be wrong. In fact, she finds herself more threatened by honey-attracted bees than by the much-larger monster. Readers may recall the famous legend in which King Solomon interacts with a bee. While Miriam’s honey-lovers prove less helpful than Solomon’s, both stories emphasize learning from and appreciating all creatures. The Sasquatch whom she once considered an adversary turns out, as the bee in the folktale, to be her ally. The comic book – style action of a girl fleeing, a Sasquatch protecting, and bees attacking teaches an unobtrusive lesson about (mis)judging others when we are consumed with our own priorities.
After the main plot is resolved, the scene transitions from orchard to home, where Miriam’s parents line the table with delicious rugelach and other treats. All the guests are hungry, not greedy, and as ready to share as one unusually large visitor. With a multigenerational crowd of humans and two small rabbits, the Sasquatch hardly stands out at all. As Kimmel explains in a concluding note, everyone has the potential for generosity and gratitude.
Emily Schneider writes about literature, feminism, and culture for Tablet, The Forward, The Horn Book, and other publications, and writes about children’s books on her blog. She has a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures.