cover image Miriam at the River

Miriam at the River

Jane Yolen, illus. by Khoa Le. Kar-Ben, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5415-4400-0

Many families have added a “Miriam’s cup” to their seder table in recognition of the important role played by the sister of Moses. With luxuriant visuals and rhythmic, emotionally intense language, Le and Yolen recount the siblings’ backstory. Before sunrise, hidden by “sedge, bulrush, papyrus, reeds” (the papyrus are especially beautiful, imagined here as blue fans striped in red and gold), seven-year-old Miriam stealthily but resolutely slips the handwoven basket containing Moses onto the sparkling, sumptuously swirling turquoise waters of the Nile; storks, ibis, and a curious hippo watch as he floats away and into the arms of Pharaoh’s beautiful daughter, whose billowing robes and hair mirror the movements of the water and reeds. Yolen puts readers inside Miriam’s mind as the girl carries out her mission and realizes she is part of a bigger destiny. Pharaoh’s daughter will mother the child, “who will capture her heart, / until another water parts,” and “some day, all the world/ will know my brother’s name.” Ages 5–9. (Feb.)