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ANGELO by David Macaulay Kirkus Star


by David Macaulay & illustrated by David Macaulay

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: April 30th, 2002
ISBN: 0-618-16826-5
Publisher: Walter Lorraine/Houghton Mifflin

Macaulay (Building Big, not reviewed, etc.), master of multiple perspectives, takes a tender turn in his latest work, set upon the stucco of a venerable old church. Angelo, an aging, all-business artisan, is inspecting every nook and cranny of each and every ledge when he happens upon a frail descendant of one of the “generations of thoughtless pigeons” who have besmirched the beautiful building facade he is to restore. Angelo is determined to dispose of this nuisance, just as soon as she is restored to some semblance of strength. Grudgingly, but with great care, he creates a sort of Rube Goldberg clinic for the bird, who thrives on Angelo’s attention and quickly becomes his constant companion. The unlikely friendship formed between the solitary stucco artist and Sylvia, a sort of fine-feathered vaudevillian, seems to fill chinks and crannies of a very different kind. All about accommodation and alternating points of view, this story is a carefully constructed balance of sympathy and silliness. Macaulay’s trusty technical pen is tempered with a palette of earthen watercolors kissed with golden ochre. Angelo’s rounded countenance and the pastoral aspects of his world are conveyed with a naïve fluidity in contrast to the edges and angles of Macaulay’s more architectural renderings. Tile-shaped text boxes are aptly placed to provide the proper vantage point from which to read the pictures. From the dizzying heights of stories-high scaffolding to the worn stones of the local piazza, from Sylvia’s sideshow shenanigans to the intimate glimpse into hard-working Angelo’s lonely life, this up-close-and-personal, touching tale may be just as important as Cathedral, if not as grand. (Picture book. 5-9)