Title: Angel on the Roof
Author: Shirley Hughes
Illustrator: Shirley Hughes
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Younger children’s fiction
Book format: Hardcover
Description: When Lewis spots a golden feather floating down from the sky, he discovers that an angel has landed on the roof of Number 32 Paradise Street. And so begins a great friendship, as the angel takes Lewis under his wing and teaches him to look at the world in a different way.
In fact, it seems everyone at Number 32 Paradise Street has been touched by the angel’s message, as neighbourly acts of goodwill and understanding begin to light up the building.
This exquisitely drawn tale glows with hope and reminds us all how small acts of kindness can travel a long way.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: This is a lovely book to look at with some beautiful illustrations and a sweet story of friendship, but it does feel as if something is missing. ‘Angel on the Roof’ is about A5 in size and is a hardback with thick glossy pages of illustrations and text. There is a special cover that differes from the one on the dust jacket if you take a look underneath it, and inside the book, the illustrations are all really beautifully done in just blue, with a touch of gold and silver. Lewis lives at 32 Paradise Street, in the basement flat of a building in London. His neighbours aren’t really that friendly to each other, and Lewis doesn’t really have any friends, but when an angel decides to rest on the roof of the building, interesting things begin to happen.
The story is a nice one with Lewis, who is a little disabled, due to a bad right leg, discovering a special feather that’s floated down from the roof. He rushes up there to see where it came from and finds an angel. Lewis is amazed and can’t help but start talking to the angel and soon they become friends. Over the next few days and weeks, the angel stays on the roof, and things start to change in Lewis’s life. I don’t want to go into too much detail over the story but it is a typical and very sweet tale of how the angel helps Lewis to see his life better. The people at 32 Paradise Street begin to change too, becoming more friendly over time. The story feels like a typical one you’d read for Christmas and it is a lovely tale, but it’s the ending that felt a bit flat for me.
The story does have a lovely message of friendship, and ultimately (I don’t think I’m spoiling the story by saying it) Lewis’s life does get better, as does everyone elses in the building. I like the way everything feels resolved in this way and how there is a little added bit at the end of what happened to Lewis in later life, but it’s also part of this ending as well as what happens with the angel before the end that just didn’t excite me or my family all that much when reading it. The illustrations have been lovely and really told a lovely story alongside the actual text, but the ending just didn’t feel all that good and I don’t know what to say, other than I just expected something a little more different, maybe more special than it was.
The illustrations are amazing. I have come to enjoy Shirley Hughes illustration style and I can’t believe how well this book tells the story in pictures that are purely done in blue. They look like they’ve been done entirely in blue ballpoint pen or fineliner and it’s just amazing how detailed and expressive everything and everyone is from the images that are purely one tone. I also like how this one colour of illustration, emphasises the angel, which is the only thing that’s coloured in a little bit of silver and gold as well as the blue. It does make the book feel a lot more magical.
Overall the story is a nice one and I really can’t fault the illustrations which are just so beautiful. But on finishing this I did feel like there was something in the story a bit lacking, which is a shame. It could just be down to the fact that maybe I read too many very magical fantasy books so I’m expecting a bit more from stories these days? I’m not sure, but if you enjoy Shirley Hughes books then I’m sure you’ll love this one, and I’m sure everyone will love the illustrations.
What do you think of this book and the illustrations? Do you like magical stories? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂