Down at Angel's

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"In this bittersweet tale of hard times in a small Midwestern town, two sisters and a lonesome Bulgarian immigrant offer one another consolation. . . . Angel's eccentricities attract the girls: his home, his artistic carpentry, his passion for opera. And he cements their friendship with his genuine kindness . . . Chmielarz's prose is consistently ripe . . . With successive readings, this book's shine will deepen into a gratifying patina." -- Publishers Weekly

Though others call their neighbor a "dumb ...

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Overview

"In this bittersweet tale of hard times in a small Midwestern town, two sisters and a lonesome Bulgarian immigrant offer one another consolation. . . . Angel's eccentricities attract the girls: his home, his artistic carpentry, his passion for opera. And he cements their friendship with his genuine kindness . . . Chmielarz's prose is consistently ripe . . . With successive readings, this book's shine will deepen into a gratifying patina." -- Publishers Weekly

Though others call their neighbor a "dumb Bulgarian," a young girl and her sister who love to watch him make beautiful things from wood, share a special Christmas visit with him.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this bittersweet tale of hard times in a small Midwestern town, two sisters and a lonesome Bulgarian immigrant offer one another consolation. Despite his thick accent and scary ``milky'' eye, Angel's eccentricities attract the girls: his home (the cellar of the house he built for his wife, who left him), his artistic carpentry (especially a table with an inlaid star), his passion for opera (persistently playing on the radio). And he cements their friendship with his genuine kindness--asking, ``Do you help your mama now that your papa's passed on?'' as he offers much-prized chocolate bars. Chmielarz's ( The End of Winter ) prose is consistently ripe (sawdust from Angel's buzz saw ``showers over his blue cap and shoulders, flies like a sandstorm across the saw table, and lies ankle-deep on the floor'') . She incorporates subtle, telling details so smoothly and masterfully and with such controlled tension that the reader is disarmed by the text's easy, natural flow. Several open-ended moments invite contemplation but do not interrupt the story. Kastner ( I Want to Go Home ; Snake Hunt ) distills the mood aptly in her soft, subdued oil paintings. Her figures seem intimately familiar yet dignified, and her compositions are newly dynamic. With successive readings, this book's shine will deepen into a gratifying patina. Ages 4-7. (Aug.)
Hazel Rochman
A small girl's bond with an adult outsider is at the center of this quiet Christmas story. Angel speaks with a foreign accent, and some kids call him "that dumb Bulgarian," but the girl tells how she loves to visit him with her little sister and watch him work at his wood carvings. Times are hard: the children's father has died in the war; Angel lives alone in the cellar of his house. On Christmas Eve the children and their mother pack a box of their home-canned fruit and vegetables; bearing gifts, they visit Angel, and he opens up his house. The double-page-spread oil paintings of the small midwestern town are full of character and longing. There's no overt message, but children will get the play on Angel's name and the meaning of the light from his cellar that shines across the snow.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395659939
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 8/5/1994
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.62 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2010

    Cant Believe it.

    My mom use to read me this book to sleep ... when i was older i opened the book to see that the illistrator used me as the little siter in the red jacket. I cant wait to read this to my kids.

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