Angel Blessings

23 January 2018

Angel Blessings
Written and Illustrated by Marilyn Lachambre
Published by YNWP
Review by Shelley A. Leedahl
$19.95 ISBN 9-781988-783093

Quite coincidentally, I read the illustrated children’s book, Angel Blessings, the first title by Kamsack, SK writer and illustrator Marilyn Lachambre, on the one-year anniversary of my younger brother’s passing; at the end of this review, you’ll read why this is significant.

In this attractive hardcover released by Regina’s Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing, Lachambre rhymes her way through All Things Angel: who and what they are, and the many ways they bring us comfort, protection, and inspiration. The rhyming text will be appealing to young ears, as will the soothing sentiments, ie: “Angels are with you day and night …. keeping you in their loving sight,” and “They’re always with you, through joy and sorrow—protecting and guiding, today and tomorrow”.

I could see this uplifting book being used as a nighttime prayer for young children. Its Christian emphasis and calming words would be a wonderful way for children to fall asleep, ie: “Even at bedtime when it’s time to sleep, they will stay with you while you slumber deep. As you lie quietly in bed tonight, know that Angel wings are holding you tight”. In fact, any one, of any age, might well be comforted by these assertions.

Lachambre has refrained from using facial details on the angels and people in her almost full-page illustrations, and this may help children imagine their own features and/or the features of those they love on these characters. I enjoyed the splashes of colour on every page, and the diverse representations of the angels, ie: some have scalloped, yellow wings, while others have gold, feathery wings, rainbow-coloured wings, or insect-like wings. The angels are featured in the air, on clouds, and in trees, and many pages also show them interacting with characters in their daily lives on the ground, ie: overlooking a baby in a cradle, or playing a game with a child in a field.

There’s a long dedication to this beautifully-produced book, and I’m guessing that the author’s two children and four grandchildren are incredibly proud of their mother/grandmother for publishing such a fine first book. Lachambre even thanks “the Angels, for nudging me along and guiding me”.

I haven’t given a lot of thought to angels of late, thus it was sweet to be reminded how some believe that our own angels (which I interpreted as dearly departed family members and friends) sometimes make themselves present to us with special signs, like “a cloud-shaped Angel,” or coins, or feathers, or butterflies.

After reading this book I went to the gym, as I do most mornings, and started my treadmill run. The treadmills at the Frank Jameson Community Centre in Ladysmith face a bank of windows and overlook a small skateboard park, backed by a row of towering evergreens. I was thinking about my brother, one year gone, when suddenly a single white flower delicately danced down from the sky right before me. Coincidence? Ah, perhaps. But I choose to believe that it was no coincidence at all.


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