Pascual and the Kitchen Angels

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When Pascual is born, angels fly down and sing to him from the trees. When he sings to the sheep as a little boy, they sing back to him. But when Pascual joins the Franciscans, they send him to the kitchen. Pascual doesn't know how to cook even a cup of beans! That's when the kitchen angels fly down, and delicious dinners appear on the friars' table night after night. Finally the friars peek in to see how Pascual does it, and what they see shows them what a blessed man is living...

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When Pascual is born, angels fly down and sing to him from the trees. When he sings to the sheep as a little boy, they sing back to him. But when Pascual joins the Franciscans, they send him to the kitchen. Pascual doesn't know how to cook even a cup of beans! That's when the kitchen angels fly down, and delicious dinners appear on the friars' table night after night. Finally the friars peek in to see how Pascual does it, and what they see shows them what a blessed man is living among them.

Pascual, a boy blessed by angels at his birth, receives divine help when the Franciscan monks make him their cook.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a starred review, PW wrote, "Telling the story of the 16th-century Spanish boy who became the patron saint of the kitchen, dePaola serves up a particularly well-flavored offering." Ages 4-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
This appealing story is based upon the legend of the kitchen angels surrounding Pascual who is the patron saint of cooks and the kitchen. The author includes a note about the life of Pascual and how this story came about. According to the story when Pascual was born doves filled the air with song and then the tree filled with angels. Pascual was a friend to animals and they all loved him. He was peaceful, prayerful and his parents were sure the angels protected him. As a young man he set out for the monastery of Saint Francis because he wanted to be a friar and feed the hungry. The friars had another idea for Pascual. They made him their cook and only with the help of the angels did Pascual manage to prepare meals. When the friars discovered the secret of the angels they then allowed Pascual to accompany them to feed the poor. The wonderful illustrations by the author make this sweet story of a generous young boy a lovely book to read to youngsters. 2004, GP Putnam's Sons/Penguin, Ages 4 to 8.
—Carolyn Mott Ford
Library Journal
Gr 1-4-DePaola brews up a delightful retelling of the life of the patron saint of cooks and the kitchen. On the day of Pascual's birth, angels sing in the trees, and his father realizes that "God must surely love him." Acrylic illustrations with soft pastel backgrounds show Pascual as a little boy, frolicking joyfully with animals and hanging garlands of flowers around the necks of sheep. The winsome paintings capture his serene spirituality as he and the creatures lift their voices toward heaven. Simple, well-chosen words reflect the youngster's sincere love for God and all of His creatures. When Pascual is older, he goes to the monastery of Saint Francis, hoping to become a friar and help the hungry. However, the friars ask him to make their meals. Knowing nothing about cooking, Pascual bows his head and prays. Suddenly, apron-wearing angelic visitors "swoosh in the air above him" and then descend to concoct a feast. Curious about the delicious meals coming from the kitchen, the friars spy on the dinner preparations and learn the truth. Realizing how much God values him, they decide to take a joyful Pascual with them to feed the hungry. Framed by light peach watercolors splashed with rainbow-colored droplets, the illustrations beautifully complement the celestial mood. An author's note provides some background about this humble man.-James K. Irwin, Poplar Creek Main Library, Steamwood, IL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Using acrylics and gesso to make his beautiful, cheerful, and warmhearted images that are so familiar to children, dePaola recounts the story of St. Pascual, patron of cooks. This Spanish saint prayed in the fields with his sheep and bedecked them with flower garlands. When he was of age, he went to the monastery of St. Francis, laden with food from his mother. The friars immediately asked him to cook for them, but Pascual had no idea how. While he prayed intently in the kitchen, "Angels in little white aprons were flying down to cook" for him and the friars. It was so good, the friars asked Pascual to cook every night. He never learned how, but the angels never let him down. A note about the saint and a dedication to a number of notable foodies complete this utterly charming work. (Picture book/biography. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142405369
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 1/19/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 818,834
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.74 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola
Best known for his award-winning picture book Strega Nona and for the 26 Fairmount Avenue series of chapter books, Tomie dePaola is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in the field of children's literature.


Born in 1934 into a large extended Irish/Italian family, Tomie dePaola received his art education at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute and the California College of Arts & Crafts. Although he always wanted to create children's books, he spent several years applying his talents to the fields of education, theater, and graphic design. In the mid-1960s, he received his first commission to illustrate a children's science book. A year later, he published his first original picture book, The Wonderful Dragon of Timlin. Today, he is one of the most prolific -- and beloved -- author/illustrators in children's literature.

In addition to illustrating stories by other writers, DePaola has created artwork for collections of poetry, nursery rhymes, holiday traditions, and folk and religious tales. But, he is most famous for books of his own creation, especially Strega Nona ("Grandma Witch"), the beloved story of an old woman who uses her magical powers to help the people of her small Italian village. Written in 1975, this Caldecott Honor winner is still delighting children today.

DePaola admits that there are strong autobiographical elements in many of his books (Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs, The Art Lesson, Stagestruck), but nowhere is this more evident than in 26 Fairmount Avenue, a series of charming chapter books based on his Connecticut childhood. Taking its name from the address of his family home, the series captures the experiences and emotions of a young boy growing up in the late 1930s and early '40s in the shadow of World War II. The first book in the series received a 1999 Newbery Honor Award.

DePaola and his work have been recognized with many honors, including the Smithsonian Medal, the Kerlan Award for "singular attainment in children's literature," the Catholic Library Association's Regina Medal, and several awards from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. In 1999, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts bestowed on dePaola the Lotte Jacobi Living Treasure Award for the body of his work.

Good To Know

  • Tomie dePaola's name is pronounced Tommy de POW-la.

  • Between college and graduate school, dePaola spent a short time in a Benedictine monastery before determining that religious life was not for him.

  • Using a combination of watercolor, tempera, and acrylic, dePaola's artistic style is best described as folk-traditional.

  • DePaola's favorite painters and strongest artistic influences are Matisse, Giotto, and Ben Shahn.
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    Customer Reviews

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    Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
    • Anonymous

      Posted January 12, 2004


      Few can match author/artist Tomie DePaola's gift for combining mirth and a moral to create an enchanting story for young readers. He has focused on the lives of saints in the past and he does so once more in this imagined tale of Pascual, the patron saint of cooks and the kitchen. Beginning with Pascual's birth when angels sang his mother and father regarded their son with both pride and awe. At first, his father thought the boy might grow up to be a shepherd because of the tender care he took of sheep. But when he reached young manhood Pascual announced that he wanted 'to be a friar and help feed people who are hungry.' So, his parents sent him to the monastery of Saint Francis. Imagine Pascual's surprise when the friars asked him to prepare dinner. Why, he didn't even know how to boil water! One thing Pascual did know how to do was pray. Amazing things began to happen when Pascual closed his eyes and knelt on the kitchen floor. Young readers will relate to Pascual and to the cheery art panels that bring the tale to life.

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