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
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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 EngbergCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved