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Pascual and the Kitchen Angels Hardcover – January 5, 2004
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From School Library Journal
Grade 1-4--DePaola brews up a delightful retelling of the life of the patron saint of cooks and the kitchen. On the day of Pascual's birth, angels sing in the trees, and his father realizes that "God must surely love him." Acrylic illustrations with soft pastel backgrounds show Pascual as a little boy, frolicking joyfully with animals and hanging garlands of flowers around the necks of sheep. The winsome paintings capture his serene spirituality as he and the creatures lift their voices toward heaven. Simple, well-chosen words reflect the youngster's sincere love for God and all of His creatures. When Pascual is older, he goes to the monastery of Saint Francis, hoping to become a friar and help the hungry. However, the friars ask him to make their meals. Knowing nothing about cooking, Pascual bows his head and prays. Suddenly, apron-wearing angelic visitors "swoosh in the air above him" and then descend to concoct a feast. Curious about the delicious meals coming from the kitchen, the friars spy on the dinner preparations and learn the truth. Realizing how much God values him, they decide to take a joyful Pascual with them to feed the hungry. Framed by light peach watercolors splashed with rainbow-colored droplets, the illustrations beautifully complement the celestial mood. An author's note provides some background about this humble man.--James K. Irwin, Poplar Creek Main Library, Steamwood, IL
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*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. In his continuing series of books that look at the lives of the saints, dePaola introduces one who is perhaps lesser known in the pantheon, but who makes a delightful subject, nonetheless. The angels sing from the trees when Pascual is born, and as a boy, Pascual communicates with the sheep he watches over. Pascual, known for his generosity, joins the Franciscan friars as a young man, but when he is assigned to kitchen work, he despairs; he can't cook a bean. Not to worry. The angels, who have observed him from birth, are happy to prepare meals while Pascual kneels in prayer. This story, with a tender, light feeling, is an ideal vehicle for dePaola's familiar images, here dappled with whimsy. Particularly charming are the pictures of the young Pascual so attuned to the animals that he sings with the sheep, each one of which wears a garland he has made. However, it is the young angels, flitting across the cover and the inside spreads, wrapped in aprons and busily gathering ingredients and cooking, that steal the show. A dear book, with an author's note that reveals more about the saint. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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