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Summary: In Casa Rosa, a small place in Switzerland, an angel watches over the "peoples." She was there when Signora Divino was a child ... and now she watches the Signora, her son, and everyone in the village. It is a good, if routine, life. All that is about to change. Mr. Pomodoro and his daughter Zola, have come from America to create an international school. It was bad enough when the angel realized Zola could see her ... but Zola is always telling the angel what she needs to do. Now, Zola has decided they need to save five orphaned children hiding in the cow shed and stealing things from the neighbors. Just how much can a little girl and an angel do? This high interest-low readability novel offers a first-person story about relationships, life, and community.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 9 to 12; read yourself: 11 and up
Interest Level: 10 and up
Reading Level: 6
Young Reader Reaction: The Unfinished Angel is a cute, short chapter book for advanced elementary school readers. In order to emphasize Angel’s youth and innocence, Creech often misspells words to make them resemble how young children would pronounce them and writes in fragments to represent Angel’s jumpy thoughts. These writing
techniques sometimes occasionally bothered me, but didn’t take away from my liking for the book. All the elements of the story are simple, young, and childish. Both Angel and Zola have very life-like traits about them, as do all the other town inhabitants. The plot
is sweet, and it teaches a wonderful lesson of compassion to all the readers. This is an enjoyable, light read, and I would definitely suggest it as a book to check out from the library.
Adult Reader Reaction: I loved this book! The angel tells a wonderfully descriptive story, filled with emotion and, because of her(?) struggle to get the words right, adds humor to what is happening. It also brings out the subtleties of what we hear, because there are times when the angel and Zola take different meanings from words, like unfinished. The book moves quickly; combine that with short chapters and solid sentence structure and you've got a perfect book for reluctant and remedial readers.
Pros: Poignant events, family dynamics, and giggle-inducing humor engage readers in a fast-paced story for readers of all levels.
Cons: None. Although some may think of this as a "girl book," there is nothing to suggest the angel is a boy or a girl ... and there are plenty of both in the story itself. Some readers may not like the less-than-perfect vocabulary or misuse of words.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a wonderful story ... perfect on the beach or huddled on the couch with a blanket. Readers of all ages and abilities will enjoy it.
Educational Themes: This is a story meant to be read aloud and shared. Although there are themes you can draw out (family dynamics, relationships, cultural traditions), it is really about the characters.
Notes: The publisher/author donated an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book to the Reading Tub, Inc. This is an unsolicited donation. Flesch Kincaid reading level 6.0
The Unfinished Angel is also available as an Audio book.
Literary Categories: Fiction - young adult, family, relationships
Date(s) Reviewed: August 2009
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