Friday, April 9, 2010

And Now for Something Completely Different: The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech

After reading Dawn (see below), Sharon Creech's Unfinished Angel felt light as air.  Unfinished Angel is a small, simple, lovingly written story about an untrained angel who lives in a castle in Switzerland and speaks broken English,  and a girl from America who can see and talk to him.  When Zola, the young girl, discovers a group of mistreated orphans hiding nearby, she informs the angel that they are his responsibility:

"Angel!  You're supposed to know everything!"
I am?  This is a little shock to me.  No, it is a big shock.  Because I am not knowing many, many things.
Zola does not look too happy with me.  She says, "There are kids there, living there, in that dark and dirty and cold place.  A bunch of them.  Eight or ten.  Maybe more.  They're skinny and hungry and dirty.  It is extremely tragical."
"Why are they living there?"
"Angel!"  Zola holds her head in her hands as if I am giving her a very big headache.  "That's what I'm asking youYou're supposed to know these things.  You're supposed to fix these things."
Know and fix?  How does Zola know these things?  Why does she know them and I don't?  I am not feeling so good. 

Between them, Zola and the angel successfully rescue the orphans and make sure they are welcomed into the community.  Creech's world is warm and comforting, and a lot of humour comes from the angel's exasperation at the peculiar ways of humanity.  There's a bit of sadness and reality in this book, and a bit of magic too.  All in all, it's a lovely, uplifting treat.

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