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THE ANGEL'S MISTAKE by Francine Prose

THE ANGEL'S MISTAKE

Stories of Chelm

By Francine Prose (Author) , Mark Podwal (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: April 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-688-14905-7
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

 The team behind Dybbuk (1996) have collaborated on a winsome story set in the legendary town of Chelm, charting its origins to the angel carrying a bag of ``stupid souls'' and mistakenly spilling them all in one town. Prose recounts many of the exploits in which ``the wise men and women . . . put their brilliant minds together and solve their problems.'' Whether it's going barefoot in the snow to keep their shoes from getting wet or wearing their hats upside down to keep them dry, the people of Chelm are full of ideas. A need to light up the night leads the townspeople to set a fire and to then call upon the firemen who smother the flames with logs. The town burns down and the fools of Chelm are disbursed, just as ``the angels had intended.'' Podwal's sly yet strikingly beautiful gouache and colored-pencil paintings, using impressionistic brush strokes and skewed perspectives to render the travails of the fools, are a perfect foil for Prose's understated, humorous narrative. Families will find this is a savory treat for sharing. (Picture book. 5-9)