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The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog Paperback – April 25, 2017
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Gr. 3^-5. Seven-year-old Evangeline Blake and her father eke out a spare existence in the log cabin built by Papa at the edge of the forest. Their only companions are two mules Papa borrows from a neighbor for plowing and a stray dog that comes and goes. When a flash flood threatens their home, and Papa is accidentally swept away, Evangeline is left alone in the cabin amid the rising waters. Suddenly, an angel appears, calming Evangeline and illuminating the house so that a woman in a rowboat can locate and rescue her. McKelvey's writing is sparse and lyrical, perhaps reflecting his previous efforts as a poet and songwriter. Using a style reminiscent of Cynthia Rylant's, he makes effective use of the element of mysticism and leaves many unanswered questions for readers to ponder. Although audience may be a problem (Evangeline's story will appeal to a much older audience than seven-year-olds), this is a fine piece of writing that should find a niche with sensitive readers. Kay Weisman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
McKelvey's first children's story is a small jewel. It is narrated by Evangeline (although readers don't know her name until the last line of the book), age seven, who lives a simple but satisfying life with her father in a remote log cabin, until the gentle rhythm of their days is ripped apart by a flood. He is swept downstream, leaving her stranded in the house with water rising fast through the floorboards. That's when she sees the angel. Calmed by its presence, Evangeline finds the wherewithal to hang on until, with the aid of a mule, a faithful old dog, and a woman in a rowboat, she is rescued and reunited with her father. Through careful attention to everyday details, McKelvey builds Evangeline's credibility. She notices things: the way a dog laps up its dinner, the way a mule twitches its ears. When she sees an angel, readers will be ready to believe her. The graceful language only appears simple; there is a disarming precision in the text, and every word belongs exactly where it has been placed. A lovely tale about the mysteries of love and faith. (Fiction. 8-12) -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
When Evangelina is six, a huge dog rescues her from a serpent which appears during a thunderstorm. She names the dog, Lewis and Clark because he likes to explore and frequently disappears. Not long after, a flood overtakes the area and Evangelina's father is swept away while trying to rescue one of the mules. She is terribly frightened as the cabin is flooded. An angel carrying a lantern appears to guide her. The young girl hears Lewis and Clark barking. A woman named Mary rows to her and pulls her into the boat. Taking her downstream, Evangelina is gratified to learn that her father is alive, but seriously injured. Is Evangelina dreaming? What will her future bring?
This book is well written in almost a lyrical style. The reader empathizes with the carefully crafted characters and is swept up in the adventure. I would consider this less than one hundred page book perfect for middle grade readers, but teens and adults will enjoy it as well. Look forward to reading more by this author.