Goldin, Barbara Diamond. Journeys with Elijah. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. Harcourt Brace, 1999. ISBN 0-162-00445-9. $20.00. 77 pp. A 4-12 FI Reviewed by Sandra L. Tidwell Journeys with Elijah is a collection of eight legends from various countries and times about the prophet Elijah : legends from North Africa, Argentina, Iraq, Persia, the Caribbean island of Curacao, Babylon, China, and Eastern Europe. Goldin begins her book by telling the Biblical account of Elijah’s life and explaining that Elijah, who is the symbol of hope and peace, was taken up into heaven in a chariot of fire by a great whirlwind and may never have died. Those who celebrate the Passover meal set a place for him at the table. In most of the eight legends, Elijah appears as an old man who is a stranger to the other characters in the story. The last legend ends with this resolve by the rabbi:”But now I greet each person I meet with a full heart no matter how he or she looks or who he or she is. In this way, I hope to be worthy of meeting the great prophet once again, and this time of not turning him away.” I liked the overall message of the book: treat everyone with respect and love, and your life will be happy now and in the future. Notable quotes include “Know that “. things are not always as they seem. Trust God and keep your faith”(p. 10); and “What they thought was a curse had really been a blessing”(p. 26). Goldin includes a substantial list of books for further reading about the life of Elijah, the stories themselves, and the locations of the stories. Pinkney, a famous illustrator of children’s books, successfully met the challenge of depicting each legend accurately in its cultural setting and time period. The legends could be used as a basis of a play for young people in multi-cultural studies. There is plenty of dialogue in each story, so the stories could easily be adapted to a reader’s theater as well.
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