cover image Guardian Angels

Guardian Angels

Naomi Judd. HarperCollins Publishers, $15.95 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027208-1

Judd (Naomi Judd's Love Can Build a Bridge) once again transforms one of the mother-daughter duo's top-selling songs into a sentimental picture book about faith and family. ""A hundred-year-old photograph stares out from a frame,"" begins the narrator, who sees a physical resemblance between herself and her great-grandparents. From the stories her grandmother has told her, the girl feels as if she knows the strong couple who built the small Kentucky farm where the book is set. From this introduction, Andreasen (Rose Red and the Bear Prince) visually embellishes the story line, portraying the narrator's emotions as she prepares to leave the farm for the city with her parents. Her great-grandparents' loving presence defuses her sadness: ""They're my Guardian Angels/ and I know they can see,/ every step I take they're watching over me."" Andreasen's soft-edged oil paintings put a more childlike slant on this song about a young woman who finds a way to keep her family ties strong as she moves out into the world. He wisely grounds the abstract theme in the particulars of the girl's life--taking one last walk around the farm, bidding farewell to a calf, packing up the car. Yet the paintings also raise questions that the sketchy lyrics don't answer (Do the parents live on the farm, too? Was the girl just visiting her grandmother?). This slice-of-life treatment, with a CD recording of the Judds' song bound inside the front cover, will likely be of greatest interest to fans of the Judds. Ages 4-up. (Apr.)