The Golden Dreidle

Miriam in the Desert, by Jacqueline Jules

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This is a modern midrash on the story of Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron, and an added "presence" at many feminist seders. Author Jules changes the emphasis of the story from Moses leading his followers out of Egypt to Miriam comforting and encouraging the weary Israelites on their journey to Canaan. It is told by Miriam's grandson, Bazalel, so children can easily relate to the narrator's viewpoint. In the long journey, it is Miriam who reassures the wanderers that God has a plan and buoys them with music of tambourines and dancing. Treating Miriam as the star of this book gives the author the ability to make this the story of the pilgrims who followed Moses. The pastel illustrations are bright and active. The faces on the long line of travelers are weary in some pictures, joyous in others. The music that Miriam plays weaves in and out, pictured as musical notes. The illustrations will help children visualize "manna from heaven" as a pearl-like substance that tastes different to each person. The voice of God comes to people in whispers or in rumbles that are visually shown as storm clouds and lightning. This is a fine marriage of picture and story, with a refrain that children can chant. The author's notes more fully explain the slim story of Miriam, citing a strong set of scholarly sources. A good addition to collections of Bible stories that can be used for Passover or Shavuot. Paperback, 32 pages, isbn 9780761344964

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  • Model: 9780761344964

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