Cover image for What do angels wear?
What do angels wear?
Spinelli, Eileen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2003]

Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Rhyming text describes angels flying, singing, dancing, playing, baking, and sleeping.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 1.6 0.5 73900.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PIC.BK. Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books

On Order



Can angels fly?

Can angels sing?

Yes, child. They can.

If angels can fly and angels can sing,
what do they wear when doing these things?

In this book from Eileen Spinelli and Emily Arnold McCully, a young child seeks to understand the nature of angels, in very childlike terms. A bedtime discussion between mother and daughter explores the secret lives of angels, from dancing and playing hide-and-seek to dressing in clothing that will be familiar to every child.

Author Notes

Eileen Spinelli was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 16, 1942. After high school, she worked as a waitress at a local diner, a secretary, and answered phones at an airplane factory. She eventually became the author of children's books. Her picture books include Thanksgiving at the Tappletons, Do You have a Hat, While You are Away, When Mama Comes Home Tonight, Wanda's Monster, Here Comes the Year, A Big Boy Now, and Hug a Bug. She is also the author of several short novels including Lizzie Logan Wears Purple Sunglasses, Lizzie Logan Gets Married, and Lizzie Logan, Second Banana. She received the Christopher Award for Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

PreS. Simple rhyming questions and answers make up this sentimental poem about angels. Tell me this, can angels fly? asks a young girl as her mother tucks her into bed. Do they sing? What do they wear? The girl's last question is the big one: Are angels real? The mother's loving answer, one of the nicest lines, closes the book: Real as love and wind and light / Real as Mama's kiss good night. Although a few lines seem too saccharine, Spinelli's words are playful and evocative, and McCully's airy watercolors extend the sense of magic and whimsy. The multicultural young angels may have wings, but McCully paints them to look like real children--some even have glasses. And whether the angels appear snacking on cake in the clouds or napping in a porch rocker, the colorful spreads reinforce the notion that angels are everywhere. A sweet, comforting bedtime book for the very young. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Spinelli (When Mama Comes Home Tonight) and McCully (Mirette on the High Wire) turn in less than their most substantial performances in this sweet, soothing but empty-headed bedtime book. As a mother says goodnight to a child (who could be either sex), the child starts asking questions about angels, to which the mother replies in verse. "Tell me this, can angels sing?/ Yes, just like the birds in spring./ Sometimes they will sing along/ With the hurdy-gurdy's song," runs a typical exchange. Readers also learn that angels wear "sparkles in their hair,/ Flowing flower-printed smocks,/ And in winter, woolen socks." McCully obligingly supplies a cast of gender-neutral, mostly white, winged children garbed in gaily patterned smocks, cavorting amid fluffy white clouds or perched "in an orchard sweet with pears,/ On benches, trains and rocking chairs." The artist tosses in an angel who sits on the child's nightstand, unobserved, and she gives the child's cat its own angel double, too, a winged feline. These innovations aside, the visual interpretation adheres to the text's sugary recipe. These "angels" have no divine role to play; they could just as easily be fairies or sprites. Their purpose here seems to consist of helping the mother lull her child to sleep. Asked at the end if angels are real, the mother says, "Yes, my love, that's how I feel./ Real as love and wind and light./ Real as Mama's kiss good night." Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

PreS-K-Rhyming, fanciful answers to bedtime questions about angels showcase a child's inquisitive mind and a mother's patient love. The celestial beings are depicted as fairy-sized, but are otherwise ordinary-looking youngsters with wings. With mussed hair and robes askew, they are fully engaged in their activities, as described in the text: "Tell me, do they ever dance?/Every time they get a chance!/Tango, conga, bunny hop,/Hula, polka-they don't stop." Curving typeface scattered around and among oblivious angels enhances the airy, floating sensation created by the puffy clouds and airborne antics. The text has just enough bounce and grounding in day-to-day details (the sparkles that the cherubs put in their hair are offset by the wool socks they wear in winter) to avoid greeting-card territory. The red-haired protagonist resembles a younger version of the title character in McCully's Mirette on the High Wire (Putnam, 1992), and the angels are a diverse group, representing both genders and all races. Seamlessly blended together, art and text create a warm package for adults seeking a slightly sentimental read to share with their young ones.-Faith Brautigam, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.