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Journeys with Elijah: Eight Tales of the Prophet

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You never know where or how Elijah will appear. He arrives in the cornfields of Argentina, on doorsteps in China, amid ancient Persian ruins. He is a friend, a teacher, an angel. He has touched the lives of people from religious traditions all over the world as a universal symbol of hope and goodness. In this illuminating collection of eight tales, an award-winning author and a renowned illustrator join forces to lead readers to the heart of ...

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Overview

You never know where or how Elijah will appear. He arrives in the cornfields of Argentina, on doorsteps in China, amid ancient Persian ruins. He is a friend, a teacher, an angel. He has touched the lives of people from religious traditions all over the world as a universal symbol of hope and goodness. In this illuminating collection of eight tales, an award-winning author and a renowned illustrator join forces to lead readers to the heart of Elijah’s journeys, to a place where goodness and truth prevail.

Presents eight stories about the Old Testament prophet Elijah, set in a variety of time periods and in places all over the world where Jews have lived.

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Editorial Reviews

Horn Book Magazine
In a prefatory author's note, Goldin "encourages us to act as if each person we meet might be Elijah in disguise." These eight tales about the prophet reinforce the notion of Elijah's ubiquity: he might be anywhere, at any time. On the title page, Jerry Pinkney's lush watercolors, with impressionistic dots of bright flowers, create a paradisiacal setting through which a waterfall flows like golden honey. On the following page, Eden is transformed into a contemporary setting: we view the open door, adorned with floral wreath, of an inviting home where flowers soften both indoors and outdoors, an outdoors of the same bright gold of paradise. Might Elijah be welcomed here? Pinkney's art seems to ask. Each of Goldin's poignant adaptations opens with a note about its history and how she shaped the tale. Author and artist transport us to the third century c.e. of North Africa, Argentina in the late nineteenth century, Persia in the 1100s, the Caribbean in the 1600s, and seventeenth-century China, where wanderer Elijah, often in the guise of a beggar, touches and changes the lives of the faithful. A childless Israeli couple opens their holiday home to Elijah, and are "astonished...and angry" when the prophet wishes them a "disorderly" table on the next Passover. His seeming curse becomes a blessing when, the following year, "their table was disorderly, but disorderly with the confusion and joy that a baby brings." In another, wittier tale, Elijah, helping a young man acquire a bride, seeks the company of the local barnyard creatures to listen to their gossip about the mistress of each house, rejecting as unsuitable those they complain of as hot-tempered or lazy. Pinkney's mastery with animals perfectly communicates a cackling puffed-up rooster and an avidly interested squawking goose. In the final story, "Meeting Elijah," a Polish rabbi tells his eager students about his encounter with Elijah-how as a young man, too intent in his mission to see Elijah for himself as his learned father had, he dismisses a peddler from the locked study door. He ends telling his students that he must journey farther to be worthy "of meeting the great prophet once again, and this time of not turning him away." His lesson resonates throughout this eloquent collection.
Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Elijah is a familiar figure to many religions, but the prophet holds a special place in the hearts of many Jews. "The belief in the possibility of an Elijah encourages us to act as if each person we meet might be Elijah in disguise. It encourages us to be more caring and considerate of others." This collection from around the world offers lessons and a variety of settings, all of which are showcased by the lush watercolors of Jerry Pinkney. His spreads and single page illustrations are full of details--the clothing, homes, scenery and, most wonderfully, the expressions of the men and women in the stories. In a story from North Africa, readers will wonder at the mysteries of God as they too take "A Journey with Elijah" while others will smile at the wisdom of clever Mina in "Seven Good Years," a tale set in Argentina. The final tale, "Meeting Elijah," really brings home the message of what it takes to be worthy in the prophet's eyes. Truly a book for those of any faith.
The ALAN Review - Alan McLeod
Goldin presents eight tales about the prophet Elijah. These stories, taken from Argentina, Babylon, China, Curacao, eastern Europe, North Africa, Persia, and Yemen and set in different times and places, reveal how Elijah in disguise aids people in resolving problems. Goldin presents him as a source of hope to persons of varying religions. The tales are fast-paced and easily read, showing the deft hand of the middle school teacher that Goldin is. Goldin previously received the Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. Pinkney, whose work has been recognized multiple times by the Caldecott Honor Award and the Coretta Scott King Award, provides lush paintings as engaging illustrations. The book has appeal for some upper elementary and middle school readers for the tales and illustrations; older readers may be interested in the different cultures represented.
Library Journal
K-Gr 6-Multilayered stories lead to some unexpected settings and rekindle a belief in this prophet who symbolizes hope and goodness. Lush watercolor and pencil paintings dramatize these rich tales. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 6In this collection of tales, the prophet Elijah travels the earth working miracles, visiting Jews in the traditional European and Middle Eastern settings of Jewish folktales to lesser-known Jewish communities in China and South America. Each story is prefaced by a brief explanation of time and place. Goldins writing is smooth and her metaphors are clear. Pinkneys vivid watercolor illustrations bring the tales to life. His paintings, done in colored pencil, pastel, and watercolor, beautifully depict the varied settings from a cool Persian night to a lush tropical garden. At least one single-page picture complements each selection; most include a two-page spread as well. The author provides fresh perspective on this beloved prophet, and only one of these tales appears in Nina Jaffes The Mysterious Visitor (Scholastic, 1997). With dynamic artwork and a rare glimpse of Jewish life around the world, Journeys with Elijah makes a fine addition to folklore collections.Martha Link, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This gathering of retold stories from the Talmud and elsewhere features dazzling watercolor art matched to encounters with the Old Testament figure who has become, as Goldin (While the Candles Burn, 1996, etc.) writes, "a symbol of hope, a figure who stands for what is just and good in the world." She evokes the worldwide "journey" of the Jewish people by setting her tales in an array of times and places, from modern Israel to Argentina and ancient China; no matter where he puts in an appearance, Elijah offers choices or chancy blessings that, often indirectly, lead the perplexed, misled, or discontented to wisdom. From tiny, jewel-like title decorations to crowd scenes that ripple with movement, Pinkney's watercolors provide a shimmering backdrop to these reverent, simply told renditions. (bibliography) (Folklore. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152004453
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/1/1999
  • Pages: 96
  • Age range: 5 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 780L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 10.99 (h) x 0.52 (d)

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