Monday, March 15, 2010

An Unfinished Angel

Sharon Creech

Synopsis:  In the ancient stone tower of the Casa Rosa, in a tiny village high in the Swiss Alps, life for one angel has been the same, well, for as long as she (or he?) can remember.  Until Zola arrives, a determined American girl who wears three different skirts all at once.  For neighbors who have been longtime enemies, children who have been lost, and villagers who have been sleepily living their lives: hold on.  Zola and the angel are about to collide.  Figs start flying, dogs start arfing, and the whole village begins to WAKE UP.  Zola is a girl with a mission.  And our angel has been without one- till now. (from jacket flap) 

My thoughts:  It took about a chapter to let yourself get into the mind of the angel as she is the narrator and talks in an unusual speech pattern but the tale is wonderful.  Through Zola, the angel learns of a band of children, all living in an abandoned shack.  Zola's constant refrain of "you have to do something" is one to be reiterated over and over in our own lives.  Slowly the village wakes up long enough to see the common good.  Like Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin this book would make a great read-aloud for elementary students to show empathy.  How can we each help the world, whether in our own neighborhood or on a larger scale to DO SOMETHING!  Creech demonstrates how, within each one of us, lives an unfinished angel that bears listening to.

A quote:
"Angel!" Zola says.  "We've got to get busy!"
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Are we telling anyone about the children? And then what? What if someone takes them away to an orphanage? That's where they were, Paolo says. A bad orphanage.  But not in this country.  And then they lived in ditches.  Ditches! What's the plan?
"Plan?" She is expecting me to have a plan?
"What's next?"
"Angel! Are you having a hearing problem?"
And she goes on, "When should..." and "What time will..." and myself is woozy sleepy and I want to go lie down  in the pasture of the goats.  p. 86
The angel and Zola are enduring characters and I easily related to both sides (what is the plan?) and the pastoral setting of the Swiss Alps are lovely.  I could easily list quote after quote because once you get adjusted to angel-speak:

First, I tell you that I am in peace with the birdies and the froggies and the toads and the kittens and the puppies and the lizards, all of those creatures, just like I am in peace with the mountains and the trees and the flowers, but let's not get too mushy.  I tell you that so you know that I am not like the peoples who hate everything and complain all day short or long.  Those peoples are sad.  p. 39
You can't help but love this exquisitely crafted tale of getting out of our own comfort zone!
5/5 peaceful stars
Highly Recommended for all living beasts

1 comment:

NatalieSap said...

Ooh, I just checked this one out from the library. It sounds lovely. :)