Booklist Reviews

Gr. 4^-7. An author's note and an introductory chapter titled "A Journey with Elijah" give readers an idea of the prophet Elijah's place in Jewish (also Christian and Islamic) folklore and religion. The eight tales that follow, all very strong retellings, reinforce the introductory information by depicting Elijah in his various roles--as teacher, mysterious stranger, miracle worker. Informative headnotes preface each of the tales, some of which Goldin has altered to better reflect the different places (from China to North Africa to the Caribbean) where Jews have made their homes, and the different times (ancient to the nineteenth century to modern Israel) during which they've made their way. Pinkney's realistic paintings, humble yet earthy, are as vibrant as Goldin's retellings, reflecting characters and background of diverse cultures with vigor, heart, and color. ((Reviewed April 15, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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. s.p.b. Copyright 1999 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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) Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal Reviews

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.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Goldin (The Girl Who Lived with Bears) combines Jewish folklore and world history in this fascinating look at the prophet Elijah. Tradition has it that Elijah can reappear on earth to anyone at anytime in any place as a symbol of peace and justice, in the guise of a scruffy beggar on the street or a stranger at and those who turn him away pay a price. At Passover, Jews traditionally set a place of honor for Elijah at the table and leave the door open to him. The overriding hope is that those on the lookout for the disguised prophet will be kind and generous to all people. Goldin imbues her well-paced tales with an irresistible sense of mystery and wonder. A brief introduction to each story, containing facts about how Jews settled in various countries, provides the context. In "Seven Good Years," Elijah appears to a Jewish farmer in Argentina and rewards him with prosperity; in "A Journey with Elijah," a rabbi travels from town to town with the prophet and gains some insight into whom God chooses as recipients of His blessings. An author's note and a historical section further illuminate Goldin's research and inspiration. Pinkney's masterfully composed watercolor-pastel-and-pencil paintings have rarely looked better. He brings careful detail to dramatic scenes set in such diverse eras and cultures as 19th-century Europe and 17th-century China and his interpretation of Paradise as a lush and fragrant-looking garden is especially noteworthy. All ages. (Apr.) Copyright 1999 Publishers Weekly Reviews

School Library Journal Reviews

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 School Library Journal Reviews

School Library Journal Reviews

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.