The Tale of Angelino Brown

After a decade of driving the same bus route, "Mr. Bertram Brown has had quite enough." He resents the old ladies, "old blokes," "dippy mothers," "babies puking," "lovey-dovey" lads and lasses "going coo coo coo," but "[d]on't get Bert started about kids!... What's the point of them?" After picking up the "little brats" yet again at St. Mungo's school, Bert's chest starts "a fluttering... He can hardly breathe." What he thinks is a "bloomin' heart attack" turns out to be a "bloomin' angel" in his pocket.

Understandably flabbergasted, Bert decides he'll take the enchanting creature home to his wife, Betty. Of course, she knows how to feed, clothe and nurture him. The next morning, she takes tiny Angelino to school where she makes "delicious school lunches" for the students. The administration is initially wary, but the children instantly welcome their unusual classmate. When he's kidnapped by two villains nefariously plotting to sell him to the highest bidder, Angelino's new friends become rescuing heroes.

Prodigiously awarded (including the Hans Christian Andersen Award) David Almond (Skellig) brings his whimsical British humor Stateside, along with artist Alex T. Smith (Claude series), whose black-and-white pencil drawings augment the delight and discovery of The Tale of Angelino Brown. Surely inspired by timeless stories of childless couples who become lucky parents to otherworldly progeny--think MomotarĊ, Pinocchio, Thumbelina--Almond's version is an exciting adventure with Very Important Lessons for younger readers. And for adults, this clever Tale turns out to be an entertainingly biting social commentary in which multiple institutions--educational, governmental, religious--all get repeatedly skewered. Buoyed by charm and affection, Angelino Brown takes inspirational, elevated flight. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon

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