The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog



The angel looked into my eyes in a perfect stillness. A stillness without words and a stillness without questions, but a stillness with more meaning than all words that were ever spoken and all questions that were ever asked. The angel knew me. I knew that. The angel knew Papa and the dog. – The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog

This little story fills a big place in my heart. It is achingly beautiful. It is masterfully written. It is elegant. It is intriguing. It is reminiscent of favorite American classics like Gene Stratton Porter’s Freckles,  Alice Dalgliesh’s The Courage of Sarah Noble, or Carol Ryie Brink’s Caddie Woodlawn.

In this tender story of a young girl, her papa, and the mysterious dog, we have a pioneer vignette which is so life-like that readers feel as though they, have indeed stepped into the story.

This book is a small masterpiece. – Cynthia Rylant

The format of this book fits Penguin Putnam’s Books for Young Readers series. It is less than 100 pages, is told from the point of view of a young girl, and is written with language that is very accessible to an independent but young reader. It features wholesome old fashioned American values of perseverance, faithfulness, courage, Godliness, and love of family.


Unlike many of the stories in the Penguin Putnam’s Books for Young Readers series, this one is quite elegant. The writing is almost poetic – it soothes the mind and nurtures the soul.

It was a world of wonders, Papa once told me, for anyone who cared to slow down and take a look. – The Angel Knew Papa and the Dog

An inspiring and tender story, our main characters live simply but fully. They rely on the land and God’s mercy to sustain them. Through a series of extraordinary events, our characters find themselves in a life and death battle against the elements. Only a string of miracles will save them. It is their faith, and their ability to see the miracles, that makes the story believable and poignant.


Sadly, this book is out of print! The last of the printed copies are available for sale at The Rabbit Room press. At $10, this is an expensive one sitting read – but it is also the kind of book which enriches a family library. My copy will bless us many times over the years, I am sure.

UPDATE: Out of print no longer! This little gem is back in print with a new cover and interior illustrations by Zach Franzen. I bought copies for myself and my children at The Rabbit Room.

The ending of the book left me and many of my friends hungry for a sequel. I asked Doug McKelvey if there would be more to this story. This is his priceless response:

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