The Heavenly Village

The Heavenly Village

4.8 7
by Cynthia Rylant

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A timeless novel for all ages from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant. Now repackaged with an updated look and feel. "This is a special book... it will move young readers. " -- Booklist, starred review

Here is Cynthia Rylant's most memorable writing yet -- a spiritual novel about the wonders of life and the afterlife. In this book, a series of touching vignettes,


A timeless novel for all ages from Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant. Now repackaged with an updated look and feel. "This is a special book... it will move young readers. " -- Booklist, starred review

Here is Cynthia Rylant's most memorable writing yet -- a spiritual novel about the wonders of life and the afterlife. In this book, a series of touching vignettes, she paints a moving picture of the stopping place between heaven and earth -- and in the process, she reminds us that life is an extraordinary gift, and that those we love are never really far away.

Editorial Reviews

Kathleen Odean
In this collection of related stories, Newbery medalist Rylant gives voice to a spiritual vision grounded in earthly objects and ordinary people. The Heavenly Village is a cozy town along the way to heaven where homebodies who have “half a heart in heaven and half a heart on earth” can dwell as long as they need to. In each of the seven stories, which are preceded by Biblical quotations, a child or adult stops for a while and finishes some inner task. Lyrical language and an appreciation of the details of everyday life characterize this unusual, deeply felt collection.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Adopting a silky prose style, Rylant (Give Me Grace, reviewed above) imagines a stopping place between heaven and earth, a village where those who "have taken one step into heaven and hesitated" can stay and "finish their stories." Each chapter opens with a quotation from the American Standard Bible, then introduces a different inhabitant of the Heavenly Village. Only one of Rylant's villagers is there for conventional repentance and forgiveness; missed opportunities are of far greater concern to the other "reluctant spirits." Rylant's pristine language and deeply comforting vision are her strong suits: "A young man will do a terrible thing, and the whole world will hate him and call him evil. But his father and mother will look at him and say, `I love you.' People on earth forget that God is father and mother. So when [an evil-doer] dies, many people think he will go to hell. But he doesn't. He goes home." Some adults, however, may be bothered by Rylant's casual theology. One character has had a miserable childhood: "This is something God has little control over.... God could not make Violet Rose's parents loving people." Later, God "is not all that troubled" when a child and his dog die, because their suffering is over quickly. But those who don't mind spirituality delivered warm and fuzzy will find this as satisfying and sweet as a cup of cocoa; it will leave readers feeling good. Ages 10-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Publishers Weekly
"Adopting a silky prose style, Rylant imagines a stopping place between heaven and earth," said PW. "Those who don't mind spirituality delivered warm and fuzzy will find this as satisfying and sweet as a cup of cocoa." Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Heavenly Village is the stopover place on the route to heaven, for those souls who are not quite ready to pass on. These souls are reluctant to give up their loved ones or routines. In this short tale, each chapter begins with a biblical quote related to the newest visitor to the Village and the reason for his temporary visit to this parallel existence. Meet Everett the timekeeper, Cordie the runner, and Fortune the legendary dog. This is a gentle tale of those making the best of their situation. 1999, Scholastic, Ages 10 up, $15.95. Reviewer: Mary Sue Preissner
This wonderful collection of stories will be remembered long after the book has been read. The author has created a comforting tale about the afterlife in which God is allforgiving and cannot bear to send anyone to hell, so everyone goes to heaven. There are some people for whom the "sound of a teapot" is sweeter than the sound of "celestial song." For individuals with unfinished business on Earth or stories left to tell, God has created the Heavenly Village, a stopping place for God's "homebodies" before they continue on their way to heaven. The seven villagers introduced here include Raphael Blake, a young doctor who recognizes his misspent life as he falls off a mountain, and Violet Rose, a young women who cannot bear to leave her beloved cats after she is killed by a drunk driver. The characters are original and thoughtprovoking. Rylant's God is more human than readers may be used to; he cannot interfere with earthly matters including child abuse. Rylant loves language; every word is carefully chosen, and every image is lovingly crafted. The Heavenly Village is a beautiful booksad and joyful, pensive and intelligent, it is a pleasure to read. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 1999, Blue Sky/Scholastic, Ages 12 to 18, 96p, $15.95. Reviewer: Melissa Thacker
To quote KLIATT's September 1999 review of the hardcover edition: No one dies, in this lovely parable: "They just relocate." On the way to heaven there is a wayside station, a little town filled with people who have business they need to finish before ascending: the Heavenly Village. In interconnected stories, prefaced by biblical quotes, Rylant tells about six of the village's inhabitants. Evertee becomes the village Timekeeper, to give him time to appreciate life's beauties; Violet Rose, a baker, isn't ready to leave her beloved cats; a boy and his dog stay around to rescue people from danger; Isham the magician repents for a hit-and-run accident; a doctor makes time to be with his family, albeit as a ghost; Cordie, a runner, takes time to bless a young man on her route; Thomas, the potter, entertains God. Sweet and warm, these beautifully told tales will have wide appeal. They're touched with a bit of humor, too: for example, on arrival, one character looks around and asks, "Is this Connecticut?" Readers don't need to be religious to appreciate Rylant's spiritual, whimsical but instructive tales. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Scholastic, 96p.,
— Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-Heavenly Village is peopled with souls not quite ready for heaven. Rylant relates the stories of seven of the Village residents in a series of carefully crafted vignettes that seem to convey the essence of a highly personal spiritual understanding. Her selection of characters seems at least in part dictated by the theology she is constructing. Readers meet a doctor who now spends his time doing nothing but talking with his "patients" (who just know they must have died and gone to heaven if a doctor is actually listening to them). The Village Timekeeper (a bank teller on Earth) never had time for beauty. The Village baker, Violet Rose, "had a very sad childhood. This is always something God has little power over. (And because of this, He sometimes has a lot of explaining to do to the new arrival in heaven)." She was killed by a hit-and-run driver. There is a boy named Harold and his dog, Fortune. Fortune just loves to rescue people and was sent to the Village because he kept trying to rescue angels in heaven who didn't need rescuing. Harold went along because the two are inseparable. Oh, and the man who was driving the car that killed Violet Rose is in the Village also. Adult in both tone and sensibility, the book comes up short as a work of fiction for children. They might enjoy the description of Fortune's well-meant attempts to rescue angels, but there is little else to draw them in. Heartfelt and well-intentioned, this offering is ultimately unsatisfying and muddled.-Elaine Fort Weischedel, Turner Free Library, Randolph, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.54(w) x 7.44(h) x 0.24(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

CYNTHIA RYLANT is the acclaimed author of many beloved books for young people, including the Mr. Putter & Tabby series, the novel Missing May, which received the Newbery Medal, and the Little Whistle series. She lives on an island in Puget Sound, Washington. ARTHUR HOWARD is best known as the illustrator of Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter & Tabby series. He is also the illustrator of Kathi Appelt's Bubba and Beau series and has written and illustrated three picture books of his own: Hoodwinked; When I Was Five, an ABA's Pick of the Lists and a Crayola Kids Best Book; and Cosmo Zooms, an IRA-CBC Children's Choice. He lives in New York City.

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The Heavenly Village 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would have given this book a five but it was such a long time ago when i read it, i didn't remember everything about it. I can tell you that I enjoyed the book VERY much. It was written so beautifully. It was a wonderful and enjoyable book. She did a great job writing it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was amazing! It really helps some wonders ease. OUTSTANDING A MUST MUST READ!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was the best book i have read in a while and it was kind of confusing when found out the magician killed Violet Rose.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is unbelievable. It really lights the fire within you, and gives you a greater aspect of life. The book paints a picture with words.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my all time favorite book! It's very good. It's about a villiage after death between Earth and Heaven. You go there if you're not ready or if you're waiting for someone there is a description of some of the people living there. It's a great book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This Book was a real page turner. It tells about a stop between heaven and earth where those who have passed away stay if they aren't quite ready to 'move on'. Each chapter tells about a different spirit who has decided to stay in the Heavenly Village. Each of their stories are unique and interesting. This is a really great book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i love the book heavenly village i love to read. when i saw a book it was just a book now that i have read the boook i love it i tells about peopel in the heavenly village,like the baker,the boy and his dog the doc.,the they got there and when.why. what they did before they went to the heavenly village. the book is grate for book reports i used it for one. i herd about it from my friend.and now you herd it from me.