Review Blog

Jun 05 2009

Waterslain Angels by Kevin Crossley-Holland,

cover image

Orion children's books, 2008. ISBN 9781842556917. Ages 10+
When an angel's wing is found in the attic of the local church, Annie is agog with stories of the times of Cromwell and the destruction of the idolatrous. The town of Waterslain believes the angles were all destroyed, but Annie and her friend, Sandy, think otherwise and set out to find them. Fourteen angels in all decorated the medieval church, flying high above the worshippers. Sandy, recently returned with his mother from USA, is a geeky young lad, worried about his future in the town of his mother. His father, now dead, was an American airman, stationed in the area during WW2, meeting Gracie and taking her back to the states when the war finished.
It is the 1950's, and children are not adhered to indoor games and television and computers as they are now, but free to roam the wilds of the countryside and follow their noses in spying out a clue of two. Crossly-Holland readily evokes the most beautiful of settings for his story, and develops a clutch of rounded characters to intrigue the reader. Some heart stopping sequences will thrill, as the children firstly climb into the church tower, forbidden because of the bees, then clamber through a cellar under the church when the tide is coming in, and finally descend a well in the church yard, convinced that the statues lie at the bottom.
A beautiful story of finding what is lost and of renewing the past, Waterslain Angels is one of those books you will want to keep. Its underlying themes about the shaping of history and of forgiveness, make this book a superb read aloud in middle to upper primary schools.
Fran Knight

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