Golden Amber (Measuring Angels)

Illustrations for a short novel written by Lesley Ely about some isolation, hate, love and growth between two teenage girls.

Like exposing the amber directly to the sunlight.

”A young narrator and her former friend are on the outs until shared class projects bring them back together. When one gets a flowerpot from the teacher and the other a sunflower seed, the resulting seedling responds to the hostile atmosphere by coming up thin and weedy. A teacherly suggestion that the two talk to it soon has them giggling together, but the real reconciliation comes when classmate Gabriel wonders whether plants have angels too—and all three pitch in to construct a teacher-sized (and-like) angel of paper and feathers. The next day the angel looks shabby but the sunflower is suddenly tall and gorgeous. Dunbar illustrates the episode with cartoon paint-and-paper collage scenes that feature short, smiling (mostly) children and tall, radiant flowers. In the end the teacher calls off the daily measurement of everyone’s plants and the two former adversaries hug: ”After all, it’s hard to measure a smile and nobody can measure an angel.“ A bit purposeful, but most of the healing is conveyed in the pictures rather than the brief narrative. (Picture book. 6-8)“ — Kirkus Reviews
Commissioned by Children's Literature, a monthly serial novel magazine.