The unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech
Puffin Books, 2010.
Highly recommended. Lolling about in her tower at Casa Rosa, the angel is surprised when the daughter of the new owner, Zola, sees her and begins a conversation. Zola's father is about to set up an international school in this village in the Swiss Alps, and causes some noisy changes to the small elderly community. Zola tells the angel about the children she has seen sheltering in the barn in the village and wonders why no one is doing anything about them, telling the angel that she should do something. The angel is perplexed; not only is this person able to see her, she is extremely bossy and expecting the angel to do things she has not thought about doing, if indeed that is part of her role as an angel. The angel sees herself as unfinished, with work still needing for her to be complete. She is unsure of what she is able or should do, and in her own unfinished way of speaking, uses the most amazing language, full of compound words and words that sound like something we have heard but is not quite right. It is an endearing trait.
The angel does as Zola demands, bringing the children into the tower for shelter and little by little the villagers, come to accept the children, giving them far more than shelter. But there is a problem as the mayor wants the children removed, after all no one knows where they are from or who they belong to, but the story is resolved beautifully with the international school having its cohort readymade.
This is a beautifully tender story, showing the links between old and young, the need for places to have children to carry on traditions and keep people feeling young, the cycle of life and death. In amongst the acts of kindness, the angel too learns more about herself and the reasons she is on earth, while the reader absorbs many of the stories behind the villagers, which will bring tears to the eye. Students will love reading of this angel, and delight in her very funny language, using it as a springboard for their own imaginations.