Chaikin, Miriam. Angel Secrets: Stories Based on Jewish Legend. Illustrated by Leonid Gore. Henry
Holt, 2006. ISBN 0805071504. $18.95. 80 p.
Reviewer: Lara M. Ackerman
Reading Level: Preschool, Primary
Genre: Fiction; Folklore;
Subject: Angels--Judaism--Juvenile literature; Legends, Jewish--Juvenile fiction; Midrash--Juvenile
Mystical and mysterious, this book is an artful retelling of traditional Jewish legends. It brings to
life specific angels, such as Raziel, Kasriel, Ya'asriel, Rafael, and Layla, and introduces Wheel angels,
Angels of Forgetfulness, Guardian angels, Musician angels and countless others. Each defined class of
angels has a specific purpose, a duty to perform in the divine task of "bringing Heaven closer to humans
and humans closer to Heaven."
While neither text nor illustrations provide a clear understanding of the traditional sources, the
book hints at rich and layered meanings in places and concepts such as the Prayer Path, the River-of-
Angels, the Hall of Alphabet Angels, the Palace of Love, and the Evil Urge. Although Angel Secrets does
not provide readers with a clear understanding of the legends, it may spark interest and invite them to find
out more on their own. An index provides sources for some of the stories as well as information regarding
the place of Midrashim in Jewish culture. Gore's illustrations are soft and impressionistic, subtly
incorporating concepts introduced by the stories.
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