It’s a children’s book about a young angel, “…exactly four years, six months, five days, seven hours and forty-two minutes of age when he presented himself to the venerable Gate-Keeper and waited for admittance to the Glorious Kingdom of God.” He tries, but he just can’t be a proper angel. Having two sons, and an active daughter, the description is familiar: “...he was perched on the lap of the Understanding Angel, and was explaining how very difficult it was for a boy who suddenly finds himself transformed into an angel. Yes, and no matter what the Archangels said, he’d only swung once. Well, twice. Oh, all right, then, he’d swung three times on the Golden Gates. But that was just for something to do!”
He is allowed to have a box of special treasures from under his bed back home – rocks, a bird’s egg, and other things a small boy would cherish. I won’t tell the end – it’s a beautiful story, and beautifully told, so if you haven’t read it, I don’t want to give it away. It’s one of the first children’s books I bought, and one I remember from growing up. I don’t know that I’ve ever read it out loud without getting teary (and I didn’t manage tonight).
This picture is from the edition I’ve got, the 1962 edition (I love used book stores) (There are more recent versions which have edited the language to be more easily understood by small children, but I’ve not found that any of my children have had trouble understanding the story with the more eloquent, but more difficult, version).