Miriam in the Desert

Miriam in the Desert

by Jacqueline Jules, Natascia Ugliano
     
 

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Miriam, Moses's sister, is featured in the fourth in Jules's Bible series, offering encouragement and guidance to the Israelites as they continue their seemingly endless thirst- and hunger-filled journey through the desert following their escape from Egypt. Miriam's belief in God's miracles quells the groups' negative complaints. "Miracles, miracles / Praise God's might! / We see miracles / Day and night." Sweet water and manna wondrously appear to satisfy each one before the travelers reach the mountain of Sinai to receive God's Ten Commandments. Bezalel, the artist chosen by God to build the Holy Ark, is represented here as Miriam's grandson (and the narrator of the tale), who plays a crucial role in developing a new spiritual future for the Jews. Deeply colored pastel-and-acrylic double-page paintings effectively portray a legendary biblical setting in a guileless and unsophisticated style; the deep ochres and blues of the desert landscape provide a warm backdrop that takes the edge off the misery of the Israelites. They effectively match the original and simple dialogue-driven text. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
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. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780761344940
Publisher:
Kar-Ben Publishing
Publication date:
09/28/2010
Series:
Bible Series
Edition description:
Library Edition
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 9.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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