Review: Miriam and the Sasquatch: A Rosh Hashanah Story

Miriam and the Sasquatch

by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Tamara Anegon

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Linda Elovitz Marshall

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It’s early fall, and Rosh Hashanah is coming. Miriam gazes at an apple orchard, imagining a delicious honey-and-apple holiday feast. She enters the orchard, not to pick apples but to practice blowing her shofar where the sound won’t bother anyone. As she practices, she hears munching and crunching, gets bopped on the head by an apple, and discovers a sasquatch sitting in the tree, eating apples that she needs for Rosh Hashanah. She tells Sasquatch to stop, but Sassy keeps eating. She blows the shofar. Sassy howls back and keeps eating. She throws an apple. Sasquatch throws it back… and the apple hits a beehive, causing bees to swarm toward Miriam and Sasquatch. Miriam and Sassy run toward the pond for safety, but Miriam slips and falls. Sasquatch picks her up, and carries her to the pond and safety. It all ends happily with Sasquatch joining Miriam and her family at the Rosh Hashanah apples-and-honey feast!

Truly a fast-paced, well-plotted picture book with a surprisingly delicious ending. Miriam is spunky and determined. Sasquatch is equally spunky and determined. Together, the two strangers make a great team. They also make great friends! Adorably quirky illustrations by Tamara Anegon add spice to the story in a way that even the youngest readers can “read” pictures and re-tell the story in their own words.

This story brings alive Jewish values such as welcoming the stranger, honoring the spark of the divine in all beings, and not judging others - and it does so in a charming, original, and hilarious way. With its Rosh Hashanah setting and message of strangers helping each other and becoming friends, this book – and its gentle lessons – is an important addition to every library…and is sure to become a classic! Truly a book to be treasured by all.

Ed. Note: This book was included in the Association of Jewish Libraries' Fall 2022 Holiday Highlights list for the best Jewish holiday books for children of the fall 2022 publishing season.

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After teaching early childhood education, reviewer Linda Elovitz Marshall began (but didn’t finish) a Ph.D. in anthropology, opened (and closed) an indie bookstore, raised four (now grown) children and a small flock of sheep. Her almost 20 picture books, fiction and non-fiction, include: HAVE YOU EVER ZEEN A ZIZ? (Albert Whitman & Co), SHALOM, BAYIT: A Peaceful Home (KarBen/Lerner); THE POLIO PIONEER: DR. JONAS SALK AND THE POLIO VACCINE (Knopf, Penguin Random House), ANNE FRANK: THE GIRL HEARD AROUND THE WORLD (Scholastic), and MEASURING A YEAR: A ROSH HASHANAH STORY (Abrams) available in time for Rosh Hashanah, 2022.