ISBN 0836216393 - Christmas is just about the best time for beautiful decorations and A Host of Angels is really a three-in-one deal - a decoration all by itself, a set of ornaments and an Advent calendar. Non-religious families won't have much use for it.
It looks a bit like a book, but the "front cover" has a gold ribbon holding it closed. Once you pull the ribbon, it opens to reveal various angels, in a stained-glass-window style, on boards that fold out to help the calendar stand for the duration. When those boards are unfolded, you see cutouts of 23 angels and, in the center, Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus. Each angel can be removed from the book, one for each day of Advent. Each one has a small j-hook cut at the top; once you've removed the angel from the calendar, you can use it as a tree decoration. Removed angels don't leave ugly, empty blank spots, either - the artwork is duplicated under the cutouts. Under the center cutout of Jesus and his parents, there is a gold (colored, not gold-the-metal) angel ornament, a special touch for the cutout that, of course, you remove last. On the backs of the boards are some quotations and bible verses.
Illustrator Linda DeVito Soltis did a superb job but showed a stunning lack of imagination in her characters; everyone - the angels, Joseph, Mary and Jesus - has blond hair. Those that are clearly female have long, flowing blond hair and those that are male have short, curly blond hair. The back says the text is by Caroline Repchuk, but other than copying a few quotation and bible verses, I can't see what work she did. Designer Janie Louise Hunt gets the only real negative from me. The cutouts are flush with the board they're on, making removing them a challenge. One trick is to gently push from the other side of the page, which helps a little on all boards except the center one. I suggest you have a small, thin object (a pin, tweezers, a knife) on hand for at least the first year, just to get them loose. Using your fingernail will usually end up damaging the edge of the ornament a little bit. Children often love to be in charge of the Advent calendar, but I'd worry that they'd hurt this one because of that problem. On the plus side, for design, the fact that the "book" serves as storage for the ornaments is a handy idea.
If you get this item used, you should know that, if it doesn't come with the golden angel in the center, it's incomplete - that sparkly bit is half the point! All in all, very nice but would be a little better if the cutouts were easier to remove without damage.