Grace and the Christmas angel by Lucinda Riley and Harry Whittaker
Set within a northern hemisphere fishing town just prior to Christmas, Grace and her younger brother Nicholas are ready for the school Christmas Eve concert, appearing as shepherd and sheep. Grace is also ready to perform a solo, and to share Christmas Day with their fisherman father . . . if he can escape the wild ocean to get back in time. The storm upsets Grace and her pleas for the storm to stop are heard by a guardian angel called Hope who does not understand the word “impossible”. The Christmas Day miracle has a magical quality and ultimately Grace gets to delight her father with her solo carol singing.
With mother and son authors, this book may yet be part of a series of guardian Angel books written with a magical quality rather than an overtly faith-based message. The book opens with an introduction with the idea of Guardian angels explained as helpful agents in times of distress. The rest of the picture book is a longer narrative which could be enjoyed by readers 5-8 years old, with winsome and detailed colourful illustrations by Jane Ray. For Australian children the idea of Christmas with school concerts, cold weather and roaring log fires is perhaps slightly foreign, but the mysterious intervention of a Guardian Angel (acting like a wish fairy) fits with some people’s notion of the magical quality of Christmas. The hardback book also includes a ribbon bookmark with an angel attached.
Recommended, as a Christmas gift or read-aloud.
Themes: Christmas, Guardian angels, Storms, Hope.