An angel’s adventures serve to illustrate the spirit of Christmas.
Debut author Cuccia’s trilogy follows the life of Shiny, an angel. The book’s opening story, “A Christmas Tale,” borrows heavily from It’s a Wonderful Life, and is the strongest of the collection. As in Frank Capra’s film, an angel is dispatched to Earth on Christmas Eve to bring goodwill to men in order to win his wings. That angel is Shiny, a character named for his bald head who is often mocked by his fellow angels for his lack of both hair and wings. But after delivering a message from God to a blind man, a child in a hospital, and an old man in the midst of a crisis of faith, Shiny rises from the laughingstock of heaven to an archangel respected by his peers. The second story, “A Christmas Lullaby,” ventures into more theological territory. Jesus sends Shiny from the Garden of Eden to “eternity past” in order to facilitate Jesus’ own birth at the Annunciation. The section successfully draws the reader’s attention to the holiday’s religious history, but it’s overloaded with scriptural trivia. We learn, for example, that the seraphim guarding the gates of Eden have six wings instead of two. The work rebounds in the third section, “A Christmas Miracle,” where Shiny and his new friends inspire a religious revival. The excessive scriptural digressions and cringe-worthy puns—“These aren’t just any sunglasses, these are S-o-n-glasses”—might drive some readers back to the classics, but Christian families looking for something new will find a heartwarming book for the holidays.
A warm, sometimes-silly Christmas story.