Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 199
Courtney, Judson, and Maddy live in the country with their parents. Their mother is a writer (who, Yolen confides, says to the children what she used to say when they interrupted her work), and their father is a college professor. They have pretty much only themselves for company, but they have trees and a pond to explore. It is in the mud by the pond that they see the unexpected. Courtney and Judson are looking for a fallen star, but Maddy hopes for an alien. What they see is remarkable, almost incomprehensible: "The angel lay curled in the mud by the pond, his white gown still pristine but his glorious hair for once in tangles. His wings looked like leafless fronds. There was a smudge of mud along one cheekbone. He breathed heavily through his aquiline nose."
After the children escort the angel into their home, most of the action takes place in their rooms, where they try to construct wings, using what knowledge they have of kites and flying. Their efforts become a group project, one in which the often bickering youngsters are drawn together, united in curiosity and their desire to save an angel from fading away.
Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 278
"Fallen Angel" has a light style, one in which humor relieves the gravity of events. Most of the humor depends on the children overanalyzing problems—something their parents have encouraged:
"Are you—like—an angel?" Courtney asked at last. The angel looked very puzzled. "*L*i*k*e*?" Then, receiving no response from the children, he added in speech rather than song. "Very like."
"He means he is," said Maddy, her thumb nowhere near her mouth now.
"He means"—Judson was adamant— "sort of."
"How can he be sort of when he is very like?" Courtney said.
"*S*T*O*P*!" the angel sang out. Children of this era, it seemed, were enough to try even an angel's patience.
Yolen also creates a consistent atmosphere of suspense and the miraculous through sharply observed descriptions such as Courtneangel], as if he were a bad photograph taken with too much light." Vivid also are offbeat images such as "The skull of the Grateful Dead wing patch winked at them, grinning beatifically." In this phrase, part of the shirt used to make one of the angel's new wings shows in a delightful, brief phrase how the new wing has come alive as a part of the angel.y "could see through him [the angel], as if he were a bad photograph taken with too much light." Vivid also are offbeat images such as "The skull of the Grateful Dead wing patch winked at them, grinning beatifically." In this phrase, part of the shirt used to make one of the angel's new wings shows in a delightful, brief phrase how the new wing has come alive as a part of the angel.
For Further Reference
Last Updated on May 8, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 340
Cooper, Ilene. Booklist 93, 4 (October 15, 1996): 425. A tepid recommendation. "Jane (Hyatt) Yolen." In Contemporary Authors: New Revision Series. Volume 29. Edited by Hal May and James G. Lesniak. Detroit: Gale Research, 1990, pp. 463-69. A summary of Yolen's publications, with a brief interview of Yolen.
Telgen, Diane. "Jane Yolen." In Something about the Author. Volume 75. Detroit: Gale Research, 1994, pp. 223-29. A list of Yolen's publications, with a short biography.
West, Michelle. Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction 92, 5 (May 1997): 128. Admires Here There Be Angels—"the book is aimed at a younger readers market, but it really is an all-age collection."
Wilton, Shirley. School Library Journal 42, 11 (November 1996): 119. Enthusiastic recommendation.
Yolen, Jane. "America's Cinderella." Children's Literature in Education 8 (1977): 21-9. Yolen discusses the history of the Cinderella fairy tale, explaining that she prefers the strong character of the original tale to the weakened versions in modern retellings. "The Woman Who Loved a Bear" is an example of her continuing interest in the Cinderella figure, particularly the strong, courageous version she finds in the original tales but not in many modernized versions.
——. "Jane Yolen: The Bardic Munchies." Locus 26 (January 1991): 4, 78. Yolen discusses why she thinks writing for children is challenging, as well as what she regards as important elements in her fiction.
——. "Jane Yolen." In Jim Roginski's Behind the Covers: Interviews with Authors and Illustrators of Books for Children and Young Adults. Littleton, CO: Libraries Unlimited, 1985, pp. 224-38. In an interview with Roginski, Yolen explains why she writes what she does.
——. "Jane Yolen: Telling Tales."Locus 39 (August 1997): 4-5, 72. In an interview, Yolen talks about the creative process involved in composing her works.
——. Touch Magic: Fantasy, Faerie and Folklore in the Literature of Childhood. New York: Philomel Books, 1981. Yolen explains why she prefers tough characters, noting that they help to clarify the differences between good and evil by defying evil.
——. The Writer (March 1997): 20. Yolen is interviewed by John Koch. She explains her views about style, and discusses why she enjoys writing.
——. Writing Books for Children. Boston: The Writer, 1983 (revised edition). A discussion of how to write books for children, emphasizing technique.