cover image An Alphabet of Angels

An Alphabet of Angels

Nancy Willard. Scholastic, $16.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-48480-0

Willard's (A Visit to William Blake's Inn) lifelong fancy for angels results in this intriguing though often puzzling abecedary. Featuring a heavenly host of photographs (Willard not only penned the text but also proves an accomplished photo-stylist), each spread showcases angel figurines, dolls or ornaments in a fanciful, frequently mysterious setting. Angels are aloft and abroad; they alight in the garden, the house, the city streets-the thought-provoking photographs are filled with whimsy. The letter ``D,'' for example, bears the message, ``The angel of dreaming flies in her sleep,'' and the accompanying photograph presents a softly lit, classical-style bust of a woman against a midnight-black background with an angel figurine hovering just above her shoulder. The imaginative artwork, combined with Willard's pleasure in language and the sheer loveliness of her cryptic poetry (``The angels of flowers have startled the grass/ The angel of games lets nobody pass'') may be enough to engage young readers, but ultimately the book seems more for adults infected with the current flurry of interest in the winged creatures than for children. All ages. (Sept.)