Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Rosen's story is based on the life of Elijah Pierce, a wood carver, lay minister, barber, and educator from Columbus. The main character in the story is Michael who adores the elderly Elijah. When the first day of Chanukah falls on the same day as Christmas Eve, Elijah surprises Michael with the gift of a beautiful angel and tells him "I send prayers to all the wood I've ever carved; now you'll always be in my prayers." Michael is deeply honored and immediately treasures the gift, but begins to worry about bringing home a Christian guardian angel on the first night of Chanukah. Michael's wise parents assure him that "It's an angel of friendship. And doesn't friendship mean the same thing in every religion?" And on Christmas morning when the streets are empty, Michael and his family set out with their "footprints connecting our house and his barbershop in a perfect dotted line", so that Michael can give Elijah, his handmade menorah. For all eight nights of Chanukah, Elijah's menorah glows and sheds light his beautiful carvings. The human connections and universal truths of this story are expressed with light humor. Robinson illustrations are based on her memories of many hours spent creating stories and art while at Elijah's side. Her illustrations shine with tribute as well as color.
Children's Literature - Children's Literature
In certain years Christmas and Chanukah fall on the same date. A young Jewish boy, Michael, is given a carved wooden angel by his African-American friend, an old man in his eighties. He is concerned that it may not be an appropriate gift, but his wise parents assure him that it is a gift of friendship. In return, Michael presents his friend with a menorah he made. Wonderful illustrations accompany this tender and heartwarming story.
Children's Literature - Beverly Kobrin
Please don't relegate Elijah's Angel to the holiday-books shelf, even if it is subtitled "A Story for Chanukah and Christmas." Michael J. Rosen's reminiscence of his boyhood friendship with 80-year-old Elijah Pierce is a marvelous read-aloud or -alone any time of year; whenever family, friendship, or tradition is on the agenda, for instance. Artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson's colorful illustrations reflect her memories of the woodcarver/barber she, too, knew. Rather than tell you anything about the book and deprive you of the pleasure I had as, with no inkling of its contents, the story unfolded, I'll just say, "Enjoy!"