When did you last make a snow angel? Can you recall the powdery chill of the snow and the sweeping of arms and legs ‘back and forth, back and forth?’ Maybe you witnessed it thaw and dissolve, and mused on the ephemeral nature of snowflakes. Well, Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell holds no truck with temporary magic. In this tender story of salvation, we encounter the notion that an angel made in the snow remains in service to its creator forever.
In acclaimed novelist Maggie O’Farrell’s first foray into children’s literature, we encounter a young girl named Sylvie and her wintry guardian angel. The unnamed spirit appears one night in Sylvie’s bedroom. With moon-glow skin and sculpted curls, he is an icy Adonis.
‘Glittering snow dust showered down from him, falling on to her, soft as swans’ down.’
On this, his very first mission, the angel has been drawn back to his creator, sensing that she is in dire need. Sylvie is seriously ill, he says, but he will save her, although she will remember him only as a strange dream. The incredulous girl insists she is fine, but already fever is surging in her blood.
‘Sylvie was ill for a long time. She lay in bed for the whole summer, the entire autumn, and most of the winter.’
Only when spring begins to unfurl does her strength return.
Maybe it’s a rookie error on the part of the snow angel, but the fact is, Sylvie’s memory of him hasn’t been erased. She remembers every detail, and longs to meet her guardian again. How can she make him come back, and how can she find similar protection for all those she loves?
O’Farrell’s elegant fairytale is a delight, the more classic elements countered by a teasingly modern nod to science. This very sweet story is elevated to beauty by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini’s stunning illustrations. One to cherish.
Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell is published by Walker Books, 72 pages.