Cover image for The acrobat & the angel
The acrobat & the angel
Shannon, Mark.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [1999]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
After his grandmother dies, a boy with a talent as an acrobat finds a home at a monastery where he must give up his "carnival ways"--until he performs one last miraculous time.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.6 0.5 35608.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.S495 AC 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PZ8.1.S495 AC 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Fairy Tales
PZ8.1.S495 AC 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Brothers Mark and David Shannon team up to create their own version of the miraculous legend of the Acrobat of God. This is the story of Pequele, a free-spirited orphan, whose unselfish sacrifice brings on a miracle. Despite a life full of hardships, Pequele takes joy in performing his tricks for the village children. When his grandmother dies, he is too sad to perform. He wanders the streets, begging for food, finally collapsing at a roadside cross.When he is taken in at a monastery, he forms a special relationship with a statue of an angel in the chapel and with Friar John, and joy returns to his life. But the Abbot forbids his "carnival tricks." The Abbot doesn't realize that Pequele's tricks and the joy he feels when he performs are what bring him closer to God. When a mother and her child with the plague come to the monastery asking for solace, Pequele's tricks are all he has to offer. So he performs, sacrificing his home and risking his life. But the angel in the chapel has been watching, and she brings forth a miracle that will change his fate and the monastery forever.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Based on a French folktale from the Middle Ages, this story of mysticism and miracles is heightened by the robust artwork that sometimes seems to leap off the page. Because his parents are dying of the plague, baby Pequeleis sent to live with his grandmother. Naturally agile, the boy learns to juggle and jump until he is good enough to earn money for food. But after his grandmother dies, Pequeleis distraught and wanders until he collapses in front of a roadside cross. He is taken into a monastery by a group of friars who are appalled when the boy does his handsprings in front of a statue of an angel that reminds him of his mother. Only if Pequeleleaves his acrobatics behind is he invited to stay, and with nowhere else to go, the boy agrees. He is content, until one morning a poor woman with a child suffering from the plague begs for blessing. Pequelechooses to make the child smile with acrobatic antics. The abbott banishes the boy, but not before Pequeleperforms before the statue of the angel that has given him so much comfort. In a burst of motion, the angel comes alive and whisks Pequeleup to heaven, leaving the astonished friars to note that the baby's illness has vanished along with Pequele. The Shannon brothers offer a rich and thoughtful story, but one that is also marked by lively humor that shows itself in a stylized smile or handspring across two pages. Framed by a carved stone arch, each acrylic painting is dominated by one or two characters. Their firm bodies, stylized features, and the sense of power they exude make readers feel as if Pequeleand the others were carved from stone themselves. A captivating look at an enduring legend. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

"The brothers Shannon return with an adept and poignant interpretation of the medieval French folktale, `The Acrobat of God (or of Our Lady),' " said PW. "A sense of wonder permeates the polished and understated retelling; the artist's brilliant characterization of hero P?quel? reveals a boy at once humble and larger than life." Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-An orphaned boy pays his own homage to a religious statue-by juggling and tumbling. When a stuffy authority stops his "disrespect," a higher authority shows approval of the lad's intentions by animating the statue. Shannon follows the outline of this traditional French tale. However, he makes the statue an angel, not the Madonna and child; adds another angel as a memento of the boy's mother; provides a good-friar/bad-friar pair; and gives the plague a role in the action. In his author's note, the reteller states that he wants to "bring forward a popular appeal that transcends strict religious orthodoxy," but there are many direct references to Christianity. The angel, now sentimentally detached from any religious context, carries the boy up to the sky. The disproportionately large head, eyes, and mouth of the hero also sentimentalize (by infantilizing) him, although in other respects the clear, bright pictures, in Romanesque arch frames, add richness to the tale. Tomie dePaola's Clown of God (Harcourt, 1978), for its unabashed faith as well as its art, is still the version of choice.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.