Unfinished Angel

Unfinished Angel

4.0 30
by Sharon Creech

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Peoples are strange!

The things they are doing and saying-sometimes they make no sense. Did their brains fall out of their heads? And why so much talking, all those words spilling out of those mouths? Why don't they be quiet?

In a tiny village high in the Swiss Alps, life for one angel has been the same, well, for as long as she (or he?) can

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Peoples are strange!

The things they are doing and saying-sometimes they make no sense. Did their brains fall out of their heads? And why so much talking, all those words spilling out of those mouths? Why don't they be quiet?

In a tiny village high in the Swiss Alps, life for one angel has been the same, well, for as long as she (or he?) can remember. Until Zola arrives, a determined American girl who wears three skirts all at once. For neighbors who have been long time enemies, children who have been lost, and villages who have been sleepily living their lives: hold on. Zola and the angel are about to collide. Zola is a girl with a mission. And our angel has been without one—til now.

This hilarious and endearing novel by Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech reminds us that magic is found in the most oridinary acts of kindness.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As adept at writing fantasy as she is creating slice-of-life novels, Newbery Medalist Creech (Walk Two Moons) again works her magic, offering an offbeat tale set in a small village in the Swiss Alps. The narrator is an endearingly flawed angel, who has trouble with “peoples’ ” language (“I am supposed to be having all the words in all the languages, but I am not”) as well as uncertainty about his (or her) mission (“Do the other angels know what they are doing? Am I the only confused one?”). When discovered by an energetic and imaginative child named Zola, the angel finally finds something more meaningful to do than “floating and swishing” around the village (“Know and fix? How does Zola know these things?” thinks the angel). Working together, the two create small miracles, instilling compassion in villagers, bringing lonely people together and finding refuge for a group of orphan children hiding in the mountains. Uplifting and full of vibrant characters, this book shows that angels come in all shapes and sizes and can sometimes even be human. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
An angel wanders about Casa Rosa's tower in the Alps. Although the angel watches over the Divinos, this angel wonders what its mission is. Mr. Pomodoro and Zola arrive and move into Casa Rosa for a new beginning. Mr. Pomodoro plans to start a school. The neighbors seem unwelcoming; Signora Divino leaves snakes and slugs in the yard of Casa Rosa while Vinny tosses garbage over the fence. Nonetheless, Zola is a young girl with a mind of her own. She recognizes and acknowledges the angel in the tower. The angel's somewhat directionless existence takes a turn as it must share space with Zola and her ideas. Zola directs some tasks to the angel. Their worlds intersect in less than smooth ways. Eight orphans join them adding to the changes at Casa Rosa and the village. The angel reveals the story and its thoughts as things begin to gradually transform in the village. Discover what was missing in the village as it changes. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
VOYA - Kevin Beach
Newbery medalist Creech veers away from her usual coming-of-age novels to offer this brief fantasy tale. Set in a small village near the Italian/Swiss border in modern times, the novel presents a very confused, unnamed, non-gender angel who does not understand human nature very well and is not sure of its mission or even where other angels might be. Language poses a bit of a barrier: "I am not knowing so many things." Invisible to all, the angel has watched over this small village for centuries from an old tower. Then a young force of nature named Zola moves in with her father who plans to open an international school. Zola immediately sees the angel and seems to know that it is an angel and voices her expectations for this entity to begin intervening and solving problems in the community. The main story line involves Zola discovering orphan children living in a nearby shed, stealing food and clothing to survive. The angel uses its power to "swish" the thoughts of the villagers, and soon the two instill compassion in the residents, bring lonely people together, befriend a feuding neighbor, and eventually find a long term solution for the orphans. This somewhat experimental novel has an unusual structure and lots of off-kilter dialogue, but it is also a simple story with an uplifting message and a healthy dose of wit and humor. Very readable, it targets younger middle schoolers and upper elementary readers. Reviewer: Kevin Beach
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Some books are absolute magic, and this is one of them. The main character, an unnamed angel, is a plucky creature with a bumbling vocabulary that is laugh-out-loud funny as well as a sassy running commentary about the "peoples" who reside in a small village in the Swiss Alps. Kids will giggle at the mischievous side of Angel, who throws pinecones at irritating mortals and smashes figs for fun. Angel can only be seen or sensed by the book's children—first and foremost, by spunky Zola. She is a free-spirited young girl who wears a trio of rainbow-colored dresses at any one time and teams up with the angel to bring the tiny town out of a time-worn gloom with good deeds, namely rescuing a motley crew of orphans with touching and humorous results. Creech's protagonist is hugely likable. Angel has moments of self-doubt and impatience that are appealingly human, while there is a sweet exchange with Zola about the potential of people to already be angel-like in this existence by using their lives for good. Thanks to the author's signature eloquence in detail, readers will wish that they, too, could live in the village among the quirky cast of characters. Creech's offering deserves to be read out loud and more than once to truly enjoy the angel's hilarious malapropisms and outright invented words, and to appreciate the book's tender, comical celebration of the human spirit.—Alyson Low, Fayetteville Public Library, AR
Kirkus Reviews
A small village in Switzerland's Italian-speaking region of Ticino provides the perfect background for this endearing contemporary fable, told in 44 brief, often comical chapters. When a young American named Zola comes to live in the house attached to the tower where an angel has sojourned for hundreds of years, things get lively. The angel's narrative voice is earnest, often puzzled and frequently indignant. Full of mixed appreciation for and apprehension about human beings, it is filled with phonemic mix-ups, word coinage, inverted grammar and nonsense that soars and fizzes, giving the impression of a goodhearted and slightly zany transcendence. Helping a ragtag bunch of homeless runaways sheltering in a chicken shed becomes Zola's project for the angel, while Zola's father begins work on his dream of creating an international peace school. Everyone-the orphans, Signora Divino (the cranky widow next door), Zola's father, even the incessantly barking dog-is on the way to redemption by the end. Brimful of grace and cheer; moving, funny and sweet-and begging to be read aloud. (Fiction. 8-11)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Sharon Creech is the author of the Newbery Medal winner Walk Two Moons and the Newbery Honor Book The Wanderer. Her other work includes the novels The Great Unexpected, The Unfinished Angel, Hate That Cat, The Castle Corona, Replay, Heartbeat, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Ruby Holler, Love That Dog, Bloomability, Absolutely Normal Chaos, Chasing Redbird, and Pleasing the Ghost, as well as three picture books: A Fine, Fine School; Fishing in the Air; and Who's That Baby? Ms. Creech and her husband live in Maine.

Brief Biography

Pennington, New Jersey
Date of Birth:
July 29, 1945
Place of Birth:
Cleveland, Ohio
B.A., Hiram College, 1967; M.A., George Mason University, 1978

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