Sunday, November 21, 2021

Review: Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O'Farrell

 Today's review is the perfect way to slide into the up-coming, winter season and works great for the holidays, too (although it isn't a holiday read, necessarily). I loved the cover and knew I had to introduce everyone to this read.

The length and age bracket make it a perfect read for the longer, cooler days and nights as this one is a modern day fairy tale...and timeless, too. The story is well laid for a read-aloud and works even as a bedtime story over a night or two. The illustrations are so full of love and heart, and that for even this slightly older age-group.

So, grab that cozy sweater and let's take a look!

by Mattie O'Farrell
Illustrated  by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini
Walker Books Ltd
Children's Picture Books
72 pages
ages 7 to 10

Have you ever woken up suddenly, in the middle of the night, without knowing why? Best-selling and award-winning master storyteller Maggie O'Farrell weaves an extraordinary and compelling modern fairy tale about the bravery of a little girl and the miracle of a snowy day.

Sylvie wakes one night, suddenly, without knowing why. Then she sees the most spectacular sight – a pair of wings, enormous in size, made of the softest snow-white feathers imaginable. An angel in her bedroom … a SNOW angel! He tells her that he is here to look after her, for Sylvie is not as well as she seems... Many months later, as Sylvie recovers from her illness, she longs to see her snow angel again. He saved her life! There is so much she wants to tell him, so much she wants to know! Will he ever come back to her? And how can Sylvie make sure that everyone she loves has their own snow angel, to keep them safe, too?



Winter dreams swirl with warmth in this beautiful tale, which will have readers curling up under a blanket of fairy tale goodness.

Sylvie can't believe her eyes when a white figure enters her bedroom in the middle of the night, whispering to itself as if confused. When she speaks to it, the wonder increases...on both sides. After all, humans shouldn't be able to speak to their snow angels and, definitely, not see them. After the angel explains its origins and it's important duty to protect her, it informs her that she's sick. When her fever is discovered, it leaves with the reassurance that she won't remember it the next day. But the angel is wrong; she does remember.

I already was drawn by the cover on this one, and it's only a taste of the lovely illustrations inside. The magic (or as the angel claims, science) of each scene comes across with the right atmosphere and allows the reader to sink into Sylvie's world. 

The text makes this a great read-aloud. While those readers, who are more sure of their words, can also dive into this one, it's perfect for a holiday or bedtime read, too. The text is longer and holds a more traditional, fairy tale atmosphere. The writing style also fits this least, during the narration and description sections. The dialogue, however, has a more modern flair, which hit me a little odd, at first, especially with the snow angel. Yet, it made the angel that much more realistic and sympathetic. I can imagine that the audio book version of this one is especially a treat. The dialogue does add a bit of humor and really lets the characters' beam from the pages.

The tale itself has everything a good story should have. While I was afraid this one might concentrate on Syliva's illness, that's only the very beginning of her adventure with the Snow Angel, and is by no means the main thrust of the book as it only hits a couple of the pages. Let's just say her snow angel has his work cut out for him.

There is the wonderment of the impossible, a bit of sadness, hope, a tiny bit of tension, and the question of what will happen at the end mixed with a vivid sense of longing. It leaves with a sense of mystery, and yet, rounds things up enough not to feel incomplete...and all of that with a sense of happiness and hope. In other words, it's a very lovely story and not just for the holiday season. 

And here they are...

Maggie O'Farrell is an award-winning Irish-British author whose books for adults have received international acclaim, including Hamnet, which won the Fiction Prize at the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Awards. Where Snow Angels Go is her first book for children. She lives in Edinburgh.

Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini studied fine art in Milan and moved to London to study photography. She is the illustrator of The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller and The Seeing Stick by Jane Yolen, among other picture books. She lives in London.

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