BOOK REVIEWS
By Paula Hamilton

 

 

ALL GOD’S CREATURES GO TO HEAVEN
By Amy Nolfo-Wheeler
Paintings by N.A. Noel

God’s Creatures is one of two books I received that are illustrated with the original paintings of N.A. Noel. The book begins with the lyrics of the song “Fly”, written by Jean-Jaques Goldman and Phil Gladston. (A song which is performed by Celine Dion.) “Fly, fly little wing/ Fly where only angels sing/ Fly away the time is right/ Go now, find the light.” The book is an enchanting short story by Amy Nolfo-Wheeler, inspired by her childhood dog, Buster.

The theme is about the pets we love that “die and go to heaven”. There they are gently and lovingly cared for by child angels. The assignment of caring for animals is given to children because, like animals, a child’s love is “honest and true”. The story is wonderfully told and very simple. While it makes a lovely tale on its own, it would be an ideal salve to help mend a small heart aching for a pet that has died.

It may also be helpful in assisting a child who is grappling with the death of a loved one, or even the death of another child; as the main character is a six-year-old child angel named Jacob. Death is such a frightening reality for children and adults alike; it’s nice to have images we can identify and in which we can take comfort.

The illustrations are incredibly mesmerizing. Noel has captured not only the physical looks of small children, but those hidden soulful expressions that sometimes only last a few seconds. They are painstakingly rendered and extremely well done. I would say, they are even a bit haunting.

A well put together book. I enjoyed sharing it as a bedtime story with my daughter, but the really neat thing, is the cover glows in the dark! Who knows, maybe our “Busters” are up there, in small but capable hands. The thought makes me feel a little better.

 

BELIEVE
Paintings by N.A. Noel
Poetry by John Wm. Sisson

Believe is the other book illustrated by N.A. Noel. This book begins with a poem about believing and goes on to reveal ten beautifully written poems that are illustrated by ten child angels. The poems are entitled Wisdom (“With Wisdom comes enlightenment of who we really are.”), Peace & Harmony (“It’s when there’s Peace & Harmony that all of us can grow), Faith (“A little Faith will guide us on through darkest hour of night.”), Humility (“A gift from your sincerity that helps another live”), Love (“Among us all most blest.”), Charity (“For acts she does divine.”), Hope (“That little seed from long ago.”), Miracle (“Why Miracles are everywhere.”), Grace (“So full of charm with virtue mild.”), Compassion (“Compassion is an angel”).

The Noel illustrations are original paintings that echo the elusive expressions one can chance from small children. They are rendered in the most exacting detail and are absolutely superb. The poetry is wonderfully inspired and coupled with the illustrations, seem like a bit of a divine gift. As a matter of fact, this would make a beautiful gift for someone, including yourself. It’s a very special book, and like All God’s Creatures, it also features a cover that glows in the dark.

Both books were enchanting, beautiful to look at and are available at your local bookstore.


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