Star-Bulletin Features

Sunday, December 16, 2001


Grace Nagano's illustrations bring charm to "Eight Little Angels."

A holiday tale about the
magic of animals

By Shawn 'Speedy' Lopes

"Eight Little Angels"

By Robert J. Goris; illustrations by Grace Nagano (self-published, hardcover, 34 pages, $12)

If, by year's end, Robert J. Goris loses all his savings on his self-published Christmas book "Eight Little Angels," he says he will simply shrug it off. After all, the reluctant local author has never entertained any aspirations of turning professional writer. His sleek, 34-page hardcover book, released for the first time last holiday season, says more about his love for his fellow creatures than any sort of fondness for the written word.

Beneath all the trimmings of a quaint Christmas tale, the dedicated pet owner (he looks after four dogs, several fish and enjoys feeding birds outside his house) imparts a message of kindness and appreciation for our animal friends.

Citing the numerous accounts in which pets have rescued their owners in perilous situations, Goris subscribes to the notion that animals often serve a higher purpose here on Earth. "I believe angels come in many forms," he explained over the phone from his Kaneohe home earlier this week. "People don't know angels until they come into the presence of one."

The "Eight Little Angels" in his book refers to a fanciful pack of young sled dogs born to Tsuki, the adopted Siberian husky of Santa and Mrs. Claus. Acting on pure-hearted instinct and aided by a touch of magic, the dogs save Christmas when Santa's reindeer are lost in a blizzard on Christmas Eve.

Although slightly wordy for younger children to digest on their own, full-page illustrations by Grace Nagano, an acquaintance of Goris' (he recognized her flair for drawing homemade Christmas cards), and the first-time writer's imaginative descriptions make the story well suited for storytelling.

In addition to bookstores, the book is available at the Hawaiian Humane Society and Purr-fect Paws in Windward Mall.

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