On Angel Wings

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Overview

A young boy gets his wish after the other shepherds leave him behind in this golden, heartwarming holiday tale from a leading author and illustrator.

"I bring you news of great joy. For tonight, in Bethlehem, a child has been born, a savior who is Christ the Lord." When the shepherds are invited to follow the star to visit the child, one young boy is told to stay and mind the flock. But the Angel Gabriel returns for him, taking the boy on a magical, memorable flight to be the first to witness the Christmas ...

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Overview

A young boy gets his wish after the other shepherds leave him behind in this golden, heartwarming holiday tale from a leading author and illustrator.

"I bring you news of great joy. For tonight, in Bethlehem, a child has been born, a savior who is Christ the Lord." When the shepherds are invited to follow the star to visit the child, one young boy is told to stay and mind the flock. But the Angel Gabriel returns for him, taking the boy on a magical, memorable flight to be the first to witness the Christmas miracle. With a gently wry narration by Michael Morpurgo and expressive illustrations by the extraordinary Quentin Blake, this inviting, uplifting story is destined to become a holiday tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
Every Christmas, Grandpa gathers the children around the fire and tells an amazing story. Although our narrator loves to listen, he imagines that the story is just a fantasy. When Grandpa was a young shepherd watching over the flocks, he and his fellow shepherds are visited one night by the angel Gabriel. The angel brings astounding news of the birth of a king and bids the shepherds to follow a star to find the baby, but someone must stay with the sheep, and Grandpa is left behind. Feeling lonely and disappointed, Grandpa stays with the sheep. To his amazement, the angel Gabriel returns for him and flies him to the manger where the young boy is allowed to see the baby Jesus. Suddenly, as Grandpa finishes his annual retelling of the story, angels appear before our narrator's eyes, and his heart is touched by the power of the story. This gentle retelling of the nativity story will appeal to young readers because of its narrator's own young perspective. Through the eyes of a young boy, the story retains all of its magic while personalizing what it might have been like to be there. Quentin Blake's familiar whimsical illustrations add to the magic. Reviewer: Leah Hanson
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-Grandpa's tale is a fondly remembered Christmas tradition, though as his grandchildren grow up it seems "too fantastical" to be true. The story he tells is of his boyhood recollection of being with the adult shepherds when the angel Gabriel appeared and told them of the Baby Jesus's birth and directing them to follow the star in the East. The adults follow and leave the boy behind to mind the sheep. Gabriel then reappears and offers to fly him to the stable to see the baby for himself, while a band of angels watches the flock. The mysterious love of the baby, the angels' voices, and the secret gift of a shepherd's crook to the baby who will one day carry it as he shepherds a human flock are all conveyed through a simple, though sometimes jarringly modern tone. Gabriel says: "I could fly you to the stable. We could be there and back, lickety-split, and no one would ever know you'd been gone . . . .Easy as pie." Blake's sketchy watercolors illuminate the spare story and hint at the wonder of angelic visitors. A read-aloud title for sharing at home, this probably isn't destined to become a widespread holiday classic.-Anne Connor, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Blake and Morpurgo, both former holders of the British children's laureate honor, join their considerable talents in this touching Christmas story aimed at both older children and adults. In first-person narrative, a grandfather recalls for his grandchildren his amazing adventure long ago when he was a shepherd boy on the night Christ was born. On that night, the boy was sad to be left behind when his father and brothers went off to visit the baby born in Bethlehem. The angel Gabriel appears to the boy and flies him to the stable as the baby's first visitor, where he leaves his shepherd's crook as a gift for the baby. The grandson hearing the story has been doubtful about its veracity all his life, but on this Christmas Eve, he too sees the angels singing as his grandfather did. Morpurgo's story is lyrically written with a bracketing introduction and conclusion by the grandson. His graceful prose makes the unlikely story seem quite concrete and possible. Blake's distinctive illustrations in watercolor and ink amplify the text with small spot illustrations on most pages and larger illustrations in glowing gold and red of the angel Gabriel. (Fiction. 7-adult)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780763634667
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
  • Publication date: 9/11/2007
  • Edition description: Gift
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 3 months - 18 years
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 6.28 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Morpurgo, a recent British Children’s Laureate, has written more than ninety books for children, including retellings SIR GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT and BEOWULF. He lives in Devon, England.

Quentin Blake has illustrated some 250 books, including the celebrated MICHAEL ROSEN'S SAD BOOK, which received a BOSTON GLOBE-HORN BOOK Honor, and numerous titles by Roald Dahl. He lives in London.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A UNIQUE CHRISTMAS STORY

    There have been countless retellings of the Christmas story but few as tender and touching as this. While intended for young readers it will appeal to all ages with its unique narrative and irresistible illustrations by Quentin Blake. Few of Grandpa's relatives really believe his story but they always look forward to hearing it on Christmas Eve. He tells it in the same way each time, beginning with 'When I was very little.....' As a boy he tended sheep with his father, uncle, and older brothers. One cold, starry night they were visited by the angel Gabriel who told them of an amazing birth, and invited them to come and see the baby for themselves. Well, of course, someone had to stay with the sheep while the other shepherds went over the hill to Bethlehem. Since Grandpa was the youngest he was left behind. Oh, how he cried and wailed as he watched the others disappear into the night. He shouted, 'It's not fair!' And then Gabriel made a return visit, offering to carry the boy to Bethlehem. Young readers will be delighted with the outcome of this story, and adults may wish they could believe it. Whatever the case, 'On Angel Wings' is sure to become a family Christmas favorite. - Gail Cooke

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