THE BLUE PEARLS by Elizabeth Stuart Warfel


Age Range: 4 - 8
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A gentle story, meant to comfort, has a plentiful supply of bathos. The angels are preparing a sapphire blue, silk dress for Elise, but she’s not ready yet, and neither is the dress. Elise must finish her teaching and her time on earth, and the angels must find blue pearls for “her earthly heart and her heavenly soul”—although pearls don’t come in blue. The head angel finds the smallest oyster, scoops up its blue aura—“for angels can do such things”—and tucks it inside the oyster. With patience, the angels wait and the round-faced Angelica brings angel courage for Elise to spend one last week with her children and then finds the blue pearls that enable her welcome to heaven. The illustrations in many shades of blue, rose, and gold are comforting and reassuring; the text is heartfelt, just bordering on the mawkish. A very formal, somewhat prissy style begs the question of audience. God and the afterlife are implied rather than stated (as the higher power and as the angelic realm), but plainly this is more suited to a religious interpreter. Warfel says in a note that the story is inspired by a dream she had when her daughter was dying of cancer, and some of the royalties will go to a London bereavement center. Children do not need to know about that, however—the more important issue is whether they can find solace here. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-902283-78-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Barefoot
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2001