Written by Eric Kimmel
Illustrated Jim Starr
Ages 3-8, 32pp, 10 7/8 x 8 3/8
How does Big Sam make a GIANT-sized challah for Rosh Hashanah?
He digs an enormous hole in the ground to use as a mixing bowl. (It's still there today — we call it the Grand Canyon.)
He adds mountains of flour, thousands of eggs, and other good things.
He whittles a massive California redwood tree into a mixing spoon. He flattens the hills of West Texas as he kneads the dough. And he bakes it inside Mount Saint Helens.
But when it's time to celebrate the holiday, the eagles call out, "Not so fast, Big Sam!" Rosh Hashanah is about fixing the world, and Big Sam has some MAJOR cleaning up to do.
"Paul Bunyan gets some competition in a story that introduces Big Sam, a towering Jewish man who digs the Grand Canyon to create a mixing bowl to make challah for Rosh Hashanah. In his first picture book, Starr brings an appropriately cinematic look to the pages as Big Sam carves a spoon from a California redwood, lets the dough rise in the geysers of Yellowstone, and holds up a fallen railroad bridge to allow trains through (including the one carrying two boxcars worth of poppy seeds that he needs). Kimmel (Little Red Rosie) tells the story leisurely, having fun with the ways Big Sam uses American landmarks in his baking. In a neat merging of the concept of tikkun olam and an environmental message, Big Sam repairs some of the havoc his actions have caused after a pair of bald eagles bring it to his attention. Closing cameos from Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, John Henry, and other legendary figures (someone has to eat all that challah) show just how well a Jewish hero fits into the American folktale landscape."
— Publishers Weekly