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Permanent Rose (Bccb Blue Ribbon Fiction Books (Awards)) Hardcover – June 1, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8–This third book about the eccentric and artistic Casson family follows closely in time after Indigo's Star (S & S, 2004). It's the last week of summer vacation, and no one has heard from Indy's friend Tom Levin, who has returned to America. Eight-year-old Rose is particularly heartbroken about his lack of communication and has spent the summer eagerly awaiting the post. Ex-bully and gang member David, who has shown up to become Indy's friend, is drawn more deeply into the family when he discovers Rose shoplifting, a newfound habit that almost leads to disaster. McKay's prose captures the heat of late summer and the confused emotions of the Casson siblings. The plot unfolds at an almost breakneck pace, revealing 19-year-old Caddy's uncomfortable engagement, Saffy's quest to find her biological father, and Rose's quest to communicate with Tom. Indigo's discovery of Le Morte D'Arthur highlights the theme of quests as Rose discovers her charming and distant father's feet of clay even as he helps her find Tom. McKay dishes out humor and pathos in equal proportions. There is more than a hint of father Bill's caddish behavior and some of the reason for mother Eve's vagueness as she dumps gin into her Diet Coke, but the siblings and doltish David, who becomes a hero at last, are clever, frank, and loyal. This rollicking story is sure to keep this family's old fans and capture new ones.–Kathryn Kosiorek, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Brooklyn, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. Fans of McKay's previous titles about the irrepressible, artsy Casson family--Saffy's Angel (2002) and Indigo's Star (2004)--will delight in this latest adventure, set during a steamy English summer. Each Casson wrestles with individual, heart-tugging dramas: eldest child Caddy, ambivalent about her new engagement, loses her diamond ring; cousin Saffy searches for her unknown father; Rose pines for a departed friend and takes up shoplifting; brother Indigo consoles her with stories from Le morte d'Arthur. As usual, McKay introduces several winning newcomers into the Casson's "muddled, welcoming" house, and slow, lumbering David, who once bullied Indigo, proves to be the family's unlikely Sir Lancelot. McKay's cheeky, often irreverent tone in scenes about the Casson parents' marital tension and the father's infidelity may baffle some younger readers, and the crowded plot, like the Casson family itself, threatens to careen out of control. But with her sly, precise characterizations, McKay once again creates a subversive, hilarious, and achingly tender view of the messy, fierce ties, broken and remade, that link families and friends together. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Series: Bccb Blue Ribbon Fiction Books (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; First Edition edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416903720
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416903727
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,229,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
PERMANENT ROSE follows more adventures of the deliciously bizarre Casson family. This sequel to SAFFY'S ANGEL (which won the prestigious Whitbread Award, among other honors) and INDIGO'S STAR focuses on eight-year-old Rose, who is yearning for her friend Tom. Tom went back to America ages ago, and no one has heard from him since. Rose, in her grief, has turned to shoplifting. Her brother Indigo, hoping to distract her, reads her bits of King Arthur and Sir Lancelot tales. At first Rose dislikes the stories with their old ornate words, but she soon identifies with the friendship theme and longs for a quest of her own.

Other characters' tales are interwoven into Rose's story. Cousin Saffy, who has always lived with the Cassons, decides she must find her true father. Her friend Sarah helps her search.

Rose's sister Caddy doesn't seem at all positive that she should keep Michael's engagement ring. Rose is horrified at the thought of Caddy's engagement ending. She adores Michael, who brings her a rose every morning. If Caddy returns his ring, Michael is sure to leave, which would break Rose's heart. She's had enough friends leave. Rose decides to make sure that the engagement ring is not available to be returned.

A boy named David has somehow insinuated himself into the Casson family. He adores Rose, but she can't forgive him for the way he once bullied Indigo. Poor fat lumpy David falls into a guinea pig hutch when he glimpses Saffy sunbathing nude. He knows he's totally hopeless...but gradually, tenderly, life changes for him.

A mystery nags the family (and the reader) regarding Saffy's father: Why are there no pictures of him? Why doesn't Saffy's Aunt Eve know anything about him?
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Format: Hardcover
I had been waiting for this book for months, ever since I discovered Saffy's Angel and Indigo's Star. I love the family in these books, and you will too! Rose, my favorite sibling takes center stage, but no one is excluded from full examination. The main character, Rose is only 8, I believe in the story, but the book really seems to be written for intermediate or even young adult readers. The plot sifts through some heavier family issues, but the rolicking wit of McKay will make you eat it up! Fix some snacks, because you will want to read this in one sitting!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a middle school teacher, I am always looking for books I can recommend to reluctant readers. I just finished Permanent Rose (I read the books before I add them to my classroom library), and I am happy to say that this one is going to school with me. There is enough angst in the story to keep poor readers going and enough depth to satisfy the teacher in me. The English setting adds to the appeal--but does not get in the way of understand. The characters are fun despite (or because of) their faults, and face the same problems my preteen students face in suburban California. Loyalty to family, friends, and doing the right thing, even if it is difficult, are subtly brought out--without being preachy.

For more enjoyment, get the two prior novels and enjoy the changes in the characters. As they get older their problems become more serious--but with the support of family and friends, they manage to make difficult choices and handle life well.
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Format: Hardcover
Author Hilary MacKay has delightfully crafted yet another enjoyable and quirky book with an appropriate balance of predictability and surprise. From the often-ignored young protagonist "Permanent Rose" to the seemingly repulsive bully-turned-hero David, each character in the book comes alive in ways appropriate to their role in the story. Examples used early in the story to illustrate points and define characters suddenly take on new significance as latter events developed and occurred. Though the climax and conclusion seem a bit rushed compared to the relaxed pace of earlier plot points, this book is certainly worth reading. Some themes and references to the "Facts of Life" may be a bit mature for elementary-aged readers, such "almost-nine" year old Rose longing deeply for Tom and some discoveries made as Saffron finds her biological father. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this hilarious and thought-provoking book for the young adult readers and others who love to read.
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Format: Hardcover
Pretty good, although a bit implausible in places. But, hey - achieving the impossible is what life's all about...

I would still rate Indigo's Star as the best of this trio, but Permanent Rose is a close second.

Since other reviewers have mostly given the plot away, I'm not going to add anything, except that there are quite a lot of unexpected twists and turns; on the other hand, some of them ARE predictable. Even so - yes, read.
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