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Children's LiteratureA young boy listens as his grandfather tells him about what seems to have been a charmed life. When he encounters typical and not-so-typical boyhood dangers during his sometimes wild exploits, "nothing could ever hurt me." He survives the Nazis, the stresses of war and post-war times, eventually marries, and has a "beautiful life." Although never mentioned in the text, the protecting angel of the title follows him through the single- and double-page illustrations. As the boy leaves his grandfather in his hospital bed, exiting out to enjoy a beautiful day, we see the angel moving outside to protect him. Whether one believes in guardian angels or not, the story is a charming and heart-warming piece of history as part of a family relationship. The simplicity of the sparse text is matched by the colored gouache and ink drawings with the sparest of contextual details. All we see of the hospital is the bed, complete with bedpan underneath. Humor prevails, primarily in the angel's protective interactions. Even the post-war scenes of hardship are not visualized grimly. And the angel is a comforting mother-like force. 2005 (orig. 2001), Candlewick Press, Ages 5 to 9.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz