Philip and the Angel



Philip is desperate to have a pet of his own, especially after his best friend Emery’s father brings him home a dachshund puppy. Philip turns to his invalid neighbor, a girl his age named Angel, for help. She helps him, all right, but as usual with Philip, things don’t go exactly as planned.

Philip waited while Angel pondered. He could hear her mother buzzing around in the kitchen.  He recalled looking down over the carboard to see the two little kittens drinking milk.  The were so small.  No bigger than his fist.  He thought of the two kittens who weren't moving.  Angel's voice woke him up.    

"You know the little shed behind my house?"    

Philip nodded.      

"You can bring the family there.  There's even a hole in the back wall where the mother can get in and out.  You'll need a box to carry the kittens."      

"What about the mother?  She growled at us when we got close."      

"She wants food.  Go and buy one can of cat food.  If you look in the shed, you should find the old hamster cage I never got to use. It's big enough.  Put the food inside the cage, and when the mother goes in to get the food, close the door.  The kittens you can just pick up and put in the cardboard box."      

"You should see how small they are. Their eyes aren't even open."    

"Helpless," Angel murmured.


Philip, in common with many fourth-graders, would like a dog. His friend Emery has one, but Philip's mom remains adamantly opposed, despite all his attempts to persuade her. John Paulits' Philip and the Angel recounts the events of that long summer between fourth and fifth grade as Philip walks to the park with his friend and plots how to get his own way. Hilarious disasters, poignant friendships, and enterprising adventures ensue in this novel, peopled with very real children, parents both stubborn and attentive, a new girl on the block, a sharp-eyed neighbor, and all the other characters who belong on an everyday street in an everyday suburb.

Philip and Emery's conversation is delightfully evocative--the perfect non-sequiturs and misunderstandings of childhood, and just the right mix of innocence and concern. Will Philip's mom lose her dislike of pets? Will Emery lose his distrust for girls? Will the little girl be allowed out to play? And will Philip find four-legged companionship? You'll have to read to find out. It's a perfect book to give or share with young readers--wise and innocent; exciting and safe; gentle and determined as the children whose lives it portrays.


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