Angelo

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High above the rooftops of Rome, Angelo begins his work restoring the façade of a once glorious church. There, among the sticks and feathers, he discovers a wounded bird. Angelo becomes the bird’s reluctant savior. As the church nears completion, Angelo begins to worry about the future of his avian friend. “What will become of you? Where will you go . . . where will you . . . live?” he asks her. Through his artistry as a master craftsman he answers the questions for his humble friend and assures that he, himself ...

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Angelo

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Overview

High above the rooftops of Rome, Angelo begins his work restoring the façade of a once glorious church. There, among the sticks and feathers, he discovers a wounded bird. Angelo becomes the bird’s reluctant savior. As the church nears completion, Angelo begins to worry about the future of his avian friend. “What will become of you? Where will you go . . . where will you . . . live?” he asks her. Through his artistry as a master craftsman he answers the questions for his humble friend and assures that he, himself will not be forgotten.

While restoring the front of a church, an old plasterer rescues several injured pigeons and nurses them back to health.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Children's Book of 2002

The Barnes & Noble Review
David Macaulay has a flair for deconstructing big ideas for children, as is evident in his bestselling books Building Big and The Way Things Work. Macaulay puts that talent to good use when he combines his love of majestic old buildings with a heartwarming relationship between an old craftsman and a wounded pigeon.

Angelo is restoring an old church in Rome, and in the course of his work, he discovers a pigeon perched on a ledge, unable to fly. He is annoyed at first, but he realizes he can't leave the helpless bird. He carries the bird home and makes it a little bed. He soon begins begins caring for it, naming it Sylvia and taking it to work and out to the country on weekends. When Sylvia is completely recovered, she flies away, though she returns every day to visit Angelo, both at work and at home.

Meanwhile, Angelo takes great pride and good care in reconstructing the beauty of the old church, and after two years, the work is almost complete. But Sylvia begins to notice that her friend looks haggard and worried. "This place has become your home," he tells her. "Where will you go when I'm gone?" He stays away from home for an entire night and returns in the morning, tired but content. He then falls asleep in his favorite chair, with Sylvia by his side. When he fails to show up for work, his assistants go to his house and find that he has died. His body is returned to the church for the funeral, and crowning the beautiful restoration work, high up near the roof, is Angelo's gift to Sylvia -- a nest made of stucco, "never to be swept away."

Macaulay surpasses the realm of the picture book, transforming a story with essentially weighty subject matter into a beautiful tale of life-affirming friendship. Readers will appreciate Angelo's true affection for Sylvia and as well as the pigeon's often carefree antics. The text sets a high standard, allowing young readers to explore new words and truly understand Angelo and Sylvia's friendship.

Macaulay's tender illustrations complement his gentle story. The watercolors gracefully convey Italy's warm sun, and the beauty and charm of Rome is apparent everywhere. His inspired attention to detail is evocative -- the little bed Angelo makes for Sylvia allows the reader to appreciate the craftsman's warm heart. Macaulay's use of perspective shows us the world from both Angelo's and Sylvia's points of view -- from the ground and from the air -- and the red stucco bird's nest, nestled between two stone cherubs atop the church, is a heartwarming and exquisite sight.

Teaching the importance of loyalty and the magic of unlikely companions, this extraordinary tale will amaze readers of all ages. Macaulay's outstanding creation is a lesson in life, food for the soul, and a sheer pleasure. (Amy Barkat)

Publishers Weekly
Angelo, an elderly plasterer, carries home an injured pigeon he comes across while restoring the exterior of a church. PW wrote in a starred review, "Macaulay's artwork conveys respect for Angelo's talent and commitment, and the artist wedges a good deal of architecture and sculpture into his watercolors." All ages. (Apr.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The old master plasterer and building restorer finds a sick pigeon as he is cleaning and readying a church in Rome for restoration. He brings her home, nurses her and despite himself, becomes very attached to her as she accompanies him to work. She soon flies off to a nearby piazza, but watches as he lovingly works on the church. When he seems to be slowing down, she joins him, encouraging and helping him through two years of work. When he has finished, he is concerned about her, but leaves something special for her after he is gone. Macaulay integrates some insights about building restoration with views of the old city's architecture into this appealing story. There are bits of humor—Angelo hangs by his toes to reach a difficult spot; a tour bus causes mayhem. The deft, colored drawings consistently tell their humanistic tale of this odd friendship with a warmth that is evident from the jacket/cover portrait of Angelo on through the book. 2002, Houghton Mifflin,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Despite his "professional dislike" of pigeons, a master craftsman at work restoring stucco on the facade of a church discovers an injured bird and takes it home to nurse. When the pigeon, Sylvia, recovers, she devotes herself to helping the old man complete his task, for age is slowing him down; she "coos encouragement," and she cools his brow in summer. With his crowning masterpiece completed, Angelo can die in peace, but not before he makes some final provisions for his feathered friend. Macaulay's watercolor illustrations provide a cornucopia of surprises, architectural details, and humorous touches. Aerial views allow readers to see the red roofs and numerous church domes of Rome with Angelo as he labors on his scaffolding. There are also some delightfully droll scenes, such as a depiction of the old man hanging upside down while at work, of the bird and her companions forming a chorus line to entertain him at lunch, and of the friends' conflicting views of what a perfect church facade looks like. Although the two part in death, there is enough humor here to relieve the sadness and make this a charming story of an improbable friendship.-Marianne Saccardi, Norwalk Community College, CT Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Macaulay (Building Big, not reviewed, etc.), master of multiple perspectives, takes a tender turn in his latest work, set upon the stucco of a venerable old church. Angelo, an aging, all-business artisan, is inspecting every nook and cranny of each and every ledge when he happens upon a frail descendant of one of the "generations of thoughtless pigeons" who have besmirched the beautiful building facade he is to restore. Angelo is determined to dispose of this nuisance, just as soon as she is restored to some semblance of strength. Grudgingly, but with great care, he creates a sort of Rube Goldberg clinic for the bird, who thrives on Angelo's attention and quickly becomes his constant companion. The unlikely friendship formed between the solitary stucco artist and Sylvia, a sort of fine-feathered vaudevillian, seems to fill chinks and crannies of a very different kind. All about accommodation and alternating points of view, this story is a carefully constructed balance of sympathy and silliness. Macaulay's trusty technical pen is tempered with a palette of earthen watercolors kissed with golden ochre. Angelo's rounded countenance and the pastoral aspects of his world are conveyed with a naive fluidity in contrast to the edges and angles of Macaulay's more architectural renderings. Tile-shaped text boxes are aptly placed to provide the proper vantage point from which to read the pictures. From the dizzying heights of stories-high scaffolding to the worn stones of the local piazza, from Sylvia's sideshow shenanigans to the intimate glimpse into hard-working Angelo's lonely life, this up-close-and-personal, touching tale may be just as important as Cathedral, if not as grand. (Picture book.5-9)
From the Publisher
"Angelo centers on the beauty and value of work, the transcendent nature of friendship and the consolations of art. It is an eloquent and in its fullhearted way a storybook for readers of all ages...Angelo is rendered from a bird's-eye perspective, a captivating, vertiginous view of the cityscape, reminiscent of the style Macaulay used in Rome Antics. These intricate drawings are suffused with soft autumnal colors that perfectly complement the beautiful story." The New York Times Book Review

"Macaulay's watercolor illustrations provide a cornucopia of surprises, architectural details, and humorous touches...a charming story of an improbable friendship." School Library Journal, Starred

"Seasoned artist Macaulay knows how to get the most humor out of his illustrations, both in the finer details and the broader strokes." Publishers Weekly, Starred

"The offbeat friendship is charming, there are entertaining details to discover throughout the book, and the grand old city is evoked in all her bustle and luminosity." Horn Book

"From the dizzying heights of stories-high scaffolding to the worn stones of the local piazza, from Sylvia's sideshow shenanigans to the intimate glimpse into hard-working Angelo's lonely life, this up-close-and-personal, touching tale may be just as important as Cathedral, if not as grand." Kirkus Reviews with Pointers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618693368
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 4/10/2006
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.70 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

David Macaulay is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books have sold millions of copies in the United States alone, and his work has been translated into a dozen languages. Macaulay has garnered numerous awards including the Caldecott Medal and Honor Awards, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, the Christopher Award, an American Institute of Architects Medal, and the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award. In 2006, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, given "to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations." Superb design, magnificent illustrations, and clearly presented information distinguish all of his books. David Macaulay lives with his family in Vermont.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2005

    Wonderful story, great illustrations

    This is one of my favorties in my collection of children's books. Angelo is restoring/renovating a cathedral. He is great friends with a pigeon that lives at the top. They have a wonderful friendship that is beautifully and expressively illustrated throughout the book. I have bought this book for myself and for other friends who are parents, and they and their children have loved the book as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2003

    A touching love story

    My sons, ages 9 and 11, enjoy hearing this story over and over. Angelo has a tender heart, dedication to his work, and a delightful surprise for readers. It is truly a story of how a simple act of kindness has its rewards.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2014

    Angel

    ...

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