Word of the Day

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell

This is an unusual book review, in that I have not actually read this particular version of the book. Here's the story:

When I was little, I had a Christmas record (yes, an honest to goodness record!) with this story on it. I vividly remember listening to it each Christmas, and loving the story. It's about a little angel boy who comes to heaven, and can't seem to get anything right. His halo is always crooked, he falls head over heels more often than not, and he creates general havoc. He eventually has to go meet with the Angel of Peace (the Singer) to explain himself.
The Littlest Angel removed his halo and breathed upon it heavily, then polished it upon his robe, a procedure which added nothing to that garment's already untidy appearance, and then tiptoed in!

The Singer who was known as the Understanding Angel looked down at the small culprit, and the Littlest Angel instantly tried to make himself invisible by the ingenious process of withdrawing his head into the collar of his robe, very much like a snapping turtle.

At that, the Singer laughed, a jolly, heart-warming sound, and said, "Oh, so you're the one whose been making Heaven so unheavenly! Come here, cherub, and tell me all about it!"

The Littlest Angel looked furtively from beneath his robe. First one eye. And then the other eye.

Suddenly, almost before he knew it, he was perched on the lap of the Understanding Angel, and was explaining how very difficult it was for a boy who suddenly finds himself transformed into an angel. Yes, and no matter what the Archangel said, he's only swung once. Well, twice. Oh, alright, then, he'd swung three times on the Golden Gate. But that was just for something to do!

That was the whole trouble. There wasn't anything for a small angel to do. And he was very homesick.
The Understanding Angel fetches a small box from under the Littlest Angel's bed back home. In this box are all the treasures in the world a boy could save: a butterfly wing, a bit of eggshell, some stones, a scrap from his favorite dog's collar, etc. After having his box again, the Littlest Angel is then transformed to the most model Angel in Heaven.

Soon, it comes time for the child Jesus to be born in Bethlehem. All the Angels work on creating beautiful gifts, but the Littlest Angel can't think of what to give. When the time comes, he eventually decides to give the new baby his very own special box of treasures. He is very afraid that it will be found ugly and worthless, but is amazed to discover that God is so pleased with his gift that he sets it up in the sky as the Star of Bethlehem.

I was thrilled to see that my beloved story was in a picture book, with vibrant oil paintings to accompany it. According to The School Library Journal, "The writing style is rather ornate and full of grandiose words and phrases, but some children will love to hear it read aloud." I agree...it is a delicious book to listen to! The more children are exposed to rich language, the more they will develop their own communication skills. If you want to read the whole text of the story, go here.

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