cover image Journeys with Elijah: Eight Tales of the Prophet

Journeys with Elijah: Eight Tales of the Prophet

Barbara Diamond Goldin. Harcourt Children's Books, $20 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-15-200445-3

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 the door--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.)