Miri­am and the Sasquatch: A Rosh Hashanah Story 

Eric Kim­mel; Tama­ra Ane­gon, illus. 

  • Review
By – September 14, 2022

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 TabletThe For­wardThe Horn Book, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions, and writes about chil­dren’s books on her blog. She has a Ph.D. in Romance Lan­guages and Literatures.

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