Miriam is pivotal in the story of Moses and the Exodus.
A 7-year-old girl narrates the details of the day that she heeds “God’s voice,” places her baby brother in a basket, sets him adrift in the Nile River to save him from “Pharoah’s men,” and then watches as Pharoah’s daughter rescues him. That baby boy will grow up to be Moses, and his sister is the prophet Miriam. In her author’s note, Yolen explains that she has taken this story from Exodus and from the Midrash, tales that interpret the Torah. Miriam’s story is interwoven with miracles associated with water, ranging from that basket on the Nile to the parting of the Red Sea and the life-giving water flowing from a rock that sustains the Jews wandering in the desert, but there are relatively few children’s books that place her at their center. Many celebrants of the Passover Seder sing a song honoring Miriam and will welcome a book that celebrates her childhood. It is Le’s illustrations that truly shine, however. The vibrant blues and oranges reflect both calm and swirling waters dotted with a multitude of plant life. Elegant storks wade in the water as hippos and crocodiles swim nearby.
This biblical tale is filled with wonder, hope, and beauty. (Picture book/religion. 4-7)