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The Unfinished Angel

Last updated Thursday, December 12, 2013

Author: Sharon Creech
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0061430951
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Dec. 2013

Synopsis: Peoples are strange!
The things they are doing and saying—sometimes they make no sense. Did their brains fall out of their heads? And why so much saying, so much talking all the time day and night, all those words spilling out of those mouths? Why so much? Why don't they be quiet?

In the ancient stone tower of the Casa Rosa, in a tiny village high in the Swiss Alps, life for one angel has been the same, well, for as long as she (or he?) can remember. Until Zola arrives, a determined American girl who wears three skirts all at once. For neighbors who have been longtime enemies, children who have been lost, and villagers who have been sleepily living their lives: hold on. Zola and the angel are about to collide. Figs start flying, dogs start arfing, and the whole village begins to wake up. Zola is a girl with a mission. And our angel has been without one—till now.

Note to readers:
•  This story is from the point of view of an angel who has an "unfinished" vocabulary. The grammar is a bit strange & there are many made-up, incorrect words. It may be a little confusing in the beginning, so remember that the more enthusiastic you are about reading the story, the more interesting it will be for the kids!
•  Read the inside cover before beginning the story, then read the following chapters (you can skip chapters not listed, as they are not directly related to the main story):
•  Peoples - p 1
•  What I've Been Doing - p 2
•  The Invaders - p 4
•  The Daughter - p 7
•  Zola - p 14
•  Hairs and Feets - p 26
•  The Matter Urgente - p 28
•  A Puzzlement - p 32
•  My Territory - p 50
•  Swishing in the Night - p 56
•  Agitato - p 60
•  Mad Peoples - p 63
•  Permissions - p 73
•  What It Means? - p 76
•  What Is Time? - p 83
•  Paradise - p 87
•  The Nature of Papas - p 90
•  The Drums - p 101
•  Ravioli - p 105
•  Meatballs - p 109
•  Eugenia - p 132
•  Pigeons - p 138
•  The Mayor - p 148
•  Luigi - p 153
•  Such a Day - p 157
•  What the Angel Knows - p 159

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think an "unfinished angel" is?

•  Have the kids point out incorrect/made-up words during the reading and think of more accurate words to teach the angel.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What do you think the angel's mission is?
•  Do you think the angel is going to be able to help Zola?
•  What do you think Zola needs help with?
•  Why does the angel have so much trouble with words?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a paper plate angel. Cut paper plate in half. Take one half and staple or glue the cut ends together to form a cone shape. From the second half, cut 2 large triangles for the wings and two smaller triangles for the arms and attach to the cone. Draw the face and attach to the top of the cone. Make small hands with construction paper and attach to the arms. Use silver, white or colorful pipe cleaner to form a halo by twisting one half into a circle. Attach the long part to the back of the head and inside the cone. (see sample)
•  Make cut-out pigeons for ornaments. draw an outline of a pigeon like on the cover & add a strip of yarn or ribbon to hang it.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!