Reviews for Unfinished Angel

Booklist Reviews 2009 July #1
In the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland, an American man and his daughter, Zola, move to a small town hoping to establish an international school that promotes peace. It turns out that the building that they inhabit is occupied by a nameless angel, who is unsure of its true calling. As Zola and the angel bond, they discover a ragtag group of young orphans, whom they bring home to live with them, bringing youthful life back to the sleepy community of mostly elderly residents. Throughout, the language is written in a sometimes distracting, naive style: "Sometimes a people needs an angel and sometimes an angel needs a people. I am also gladful the childrens came to our village." While there is less humor than one often expects from Creech, she stretches her already accomplished wings to provide an ethereal effect, somewhat reminiscent of Lois Lowry's Gossamer (2006), that will draw many readers to this metaphysical parable. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Spring
From a tower high above the Swiss countryside, an angel watches over her village and the arrival of Zola, an American girl who turns the place upside down. Readers will delight in Creech's wordplay (fabbagrating, miffled, mishmasheroni) as the angel struggles to make sense of why "peoples" do what they do. A modern fairy tale with an allegorical undercurrent. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 September #2
A small village in Switzerland's Italian-speaking region of Ticino provides the perfect background for this endearing contemporary fable, told in 44 brief, often comical chapters. When a young American named Zola comes to live in the house attached to the tower where an angel has sojourned for hundreds of years, things get lively. The angel's narrative voice is earnest, often puzzled and frequently indignant. Full of mixed appreciation for and apprehension about human beings, it is filled with phonemic mix-ups, word coinage, inverted grammar and nonsense that soars and fizzes, giving the impression of a goodhearted and slightly zany transcendence. Helping a ragtag bunch of homeless runaways sheltering in a chicken shed becomes Zola's project for the angel, while Zola's father begins work on his dream of creating an international peace school. Everyone--the orphans, Signora Divino (the cranky widow next door), Zola's father, even the incessantly barking dog--is on the way to redemption by the end. Brimful of grace and cheer; moving, funny and sweet--and begging to be read aloud. (Fiction. 8-11) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2009 September #4

As adept at writing fantasy as she is creating slice-of-life novels, Newbery Medalist Creech (Walk Two Moons) again works her magic, offering an offbeat tale set in a small village in the Swiss Alps. The narrator is an endearingly flawed angel, who has trouble with "peoples' " language ("I am supposed to be having all the words in all the languages, but I am not") as well as uncertainty about his (or her) mission ("Do the other angels know what they are doing? Am I the only confused one?"). When discovered by an energetic and imaginative child named Zola, the angel finally finds something more meaningful to do than "floating and swishing" around the village ("Know and fix? How does Zola know these things?" thinks the angel). Working together, the two create small miracles, instilling compassion in villagers, bringing lonely people together and finding refuge for a group of orphan children hiding in the mountains. Uplifting and full of vibrant characters, this book shows that angels come in all shapes and sizes and can sometimes even be human. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 September

Gr 4-6--Some books are absolute magic, and this is one of them. The main character, an unnamed angel, is a plucky creature with a bumbling vocabulary that is laugh-out-loud funny as well as a sassy running commentary about the "peoples" who reside in a small village in the Swiss Alps. Kids will giggle at the mischievous side of Angel, who throws pinecones at irritating mortals and smashes figs for fun. Angel can only be seen or sensed by the book's children--first and foremost, by spunky Zola. She is a free-spirited young girl who wears a trio of rainbow-colored dresses at any one time and teams up with the angel to bring the tiny town out of a time-worn gloom with good deeds, namely rescuing a motley crew of orphans with touching and humorous results. Creech's protagonist is hugely likable. Angel has moments of self-doubt and impatience that are appealingly human, while there is a sweet exchange with Zola about the potential of people to already be angel-like in this existence by using their lives for good. Thanks to the author's signature eloquence in detail, readers will wish that they, too, could live in the village among the quirky cast of characters. Creech's offering deserves to be read out loud and more than once to truly enjoy the angel's hilarious malapropisms and outright invented words, and to appreciate the book's tender, comical celebration of the human spirit.--Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR

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