Review Blog

Mar 18 2011

Angel Creek by Sally Rippin

cover image

Text, 2011. ISBN 9781921758058.
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Jelly is not happy when her parents buy a new house so that she can go to high school. The only things that she likes are the apricot tree, which she has made her secret place, and Angel Creek, which flows behind her house. One night she and her cousins Gino and Pik are exploring the dark waters of the creek when they find a strange creature with an injured wing. It's a baby angel and they decide to keep it. But this strange, feral little thing that ferociously attaches itself to Jelly is not like a baby bird that needs mending, and somewhere there must be a mother.
With a compelling mixture of reality and fantasy, Angel Creek was such a fascinating story that I read it in one sitting. Rippin's picture of family life was one that rang true. It was easy to imagine the jealousy that Gino felt when the little angel attached itself to Jelly, and the contrast between Jelly's lovely relationship with her father and Gino's less than perfect one added a level to the family relations.
It is also a coming of age story. Jelly is a brave girl who can stand up against the bullying teenage boys on their bikes. She also begins to realise that her actions have repercussions. Like a bird that has recovered from its injuries, the little angel must be returned to its home and Jelly has to find a way to do that. She also discovers that change is inevitable. Her grandmother won't live forever and she can make new friends in her neighbourhood. The slight touch of romance with the boy who has helped her will appeal to young readers.
I love books about angels and I thoroughly enjoyed Angel Creek. Rippin's story has a unique take on angels and their origins and this story of a baby creek angel is fascinating and original. Readers who enjoyed this story might like to move onto the more complex Skellig by David Almond or Unfinished angel by Sharon Creech, and Waterslain Angels by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Pat Pledger

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