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Saffy's Angel Paperback – June 13, 2002


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Paperback, June 13, 2002
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Children's Books; New Ed edition (June 13, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340850809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340850800
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5 x 7.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,336,511 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McKay's (The Exiles; Dog Friday) sparkling novel once again introduces an eccentric, entirely engaging British family whose members readers will immediately embrace. The Casson parents, both artists delightfully distracted Eve paints in her backyard shed and comically distant Bill spends weekdays painting in his London studio named their children from a paint color chart: Caddy (for Cadmium), Indigo and Rose. All but Saffron, "so fierce and alone," who learns at the start of the story that she is actually the Italian-born daughter of Eve's twin sister, who died in a car crash when Saffy was three. Eve explains that Grandfather had been visiting Saffy and Saffy's mother in Siena at the time of the accident, and delivered the girl to the Cassons, who adopted her. Now elderly and catatonic after two heart attacks, beloved Grandfather sits in silence when he visits the family, as the children hover around him, endearingly sharing news of their lives. When Grandfather dies, "They felt as if they had lost a battle they might have won if only they had tried a bit harder."The man leaves something to each of the children: Caddy receives his crumbling cottage on a cliff in Wales; Indigo his aged Bentley (which Bill dismisses as an "absolute wreck"); Rose his remaining cash (L144). Attached to the will by a rusty pin is a note scrawled in a shaky hand, "For Saffron. Her angel in the garden. The stone angel." As McKay shapes an intriguing plot around Saffy's angel, the Cassons' capricious capers and understated, droll dialogue will keep readers chuckling. Especially entertaining subplots include: reckless Caddy's driving lessons with her patient instructor (who fabricates a girlfriend to keep his flirtatious student in check), aspiring polar explorer Indigo's sessions sitting on his bedroom windowsill, hoping to cure his vertigo, and Rose's efforts to create works of art using such unlikely materials as "the entire contents of the refrigerator" and the pound coins that constitute her inheritance. An unlikely friendship with Sarah ("the wheelchair girl"), a neighbor, brings out another side of Saffy as the two attempt to find her angel in Siena, and Saffy makes all kinds of discoveries, including her love for the Cassons. The author blends a generous heaping of humor and joy with a dose of pain in a memorable portrait of a vastly human family.The only disappointment for readers may be that McKay's affecting conclusion arrives too soon. They'll close this book hoping for the Casson clan's swift return. Ages 8-12.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6-The Casson family is an endearingly eccentric bunch. Big sister Cadmium, an appallingly bad driver even after hundreds of lessons with an attractive instructor, is studying for her college entrance exams. Saffron, 13, isolates herself from the family after learning that she is actually an adopted cousin whose mother died when Saffy was very young. Indigo works hard to defeat his fears through most unusual means. Rose, the youngest, is an expert at manipulating their pompous father and delightfully ditsy mum, both artists. When their granddad dies, he leaves Saffy a stone angel, which she decides must still be in Italy, her birthplace. With the help of her wheelchair-mobile friend, Sarah Warbeck, who is wickedly adept at managing her parents, Saffy stows away on their family trip to Italy. Although the angel is not there, she learns to appreciate her own family and home. Meanwhile, her siblings set off on a comical car trip to Wales, where the statue is found. Rose provides much of the humor on this trip, with her funny messages to the irritated drivers stuck behind hapless Caddy's car. These charming characters never respond to events in ways one might expect, leading readers to anticipate the whimsical situations. Although humor is predominant, several characters experience significant growth. Delicious phrasing and a wonderfully descriptive style add further to the sense of British eccentricity, reminiscent of Helen Cresswell's "Bagthorpe Saga" (Atheneum; o.p.). This family's story, in which every activity becomes an artistic expression, will surely fly off the shelves.
B. Allison Gray, South Country Library, Bellport, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

A good pick for 5th-12th grade, as the ages of the children range all over.
Gretchen Goodfellow
Funny, touching and unique in its rich use of language and its fine character development.
Sharon
Although this book was written for a young adult audience, I enjoyed it thoroughly!
MJ Tappa

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By LonestarReader VINE VOICE on December 31, 2004
Format: Paperback
I have just spent the afternoon with the most entertaining, warm, funny, and unusual people; they are the Casson family. In 152 pages, McKay has created characters I want to spend more time with and get to know better. Cadmium is the oldest girl and is learning to drive and pass her "A" levels. Indigo is the brother who dreams of exploring the Artic. Rose is the youngest who shows an affinity with paint as an infant.

We meet Saffy in the terrific opening sentence of the novel, "When Saffron was eight, and had at last learned to read, she hunted slowly through the color chart pinned up on the kitchen wall."

Through her exploration of a painter's color chart the story of her adoption into the Casson family is revealed. She learns that she was born in Siena, Italy and brought to England by her grandfather when her own mother died in an automobile crash. Although the focus of the story is on Saffy's search for her place in the family, the rest of the characters are so wonderfully drawn that the reader feels a personal connection with each one of them. The way the family members interact and care for each other is touching yet tremendously funny too.

Caddy's driving lessons (and her crush on the driving instructor) are hilarious. I laughed and laughed as I read. Indigo's valiant attempts to conquer his various fears are profoundly moving. Rose is a no holds barred artist. Her realistic view and handling of their father and his dismay at his unconventional family is cheering.

I sought this book out when the Junior Library Guild chose "Indigo's Star" as a selection this fall. Lucky for me, I will get to spend another afternoon with the Cassons now.

Stop what you are doing right now: order it, place it on hold at your library, or go out and buy it! You will thank me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Satterfield on June 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I chose this book out of chance for a university course paper. Thank God. This book was one of the most endearing and beautiful stories about a fabulously funny and looney family.
I hope that many other people find this book by accident as well.
Thank you Saffy!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Goodfellow on March 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
The characters in this story will win you over in the first few pages! McKay writes with a wit that calls to mind JK Rowling. The children (who are all named after paint colors by their artist parents) are hysterical and cooly intelligent. The adults are loveable but incapable, however the children make up for that by being the true heroes. The comraderie between the siblings is refreshing and intriguing. I freely give it five stars for originality of character. A good pick for 5th-12th grade, as the ages of the children range all over. You will want to read the sequel Indigo's Star as well as the soon-to-be-published Permanent Rose.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anya on July 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Bill Casson once said "If there is one thing your mother was good at, it was chousing names for you children". And really, names for kids of Bill and Eve Casson, for which inspiration was color chard on kicken wall, were perfect for their owners:

Cadmium, known as Caddy, was gold just as color that shows her name.

Saffron is one tint of yellow, and yellow usually shows stubbornes and proudness, words that discribe Saffy.

Indigo, pale, thin, black-ahired boy, who's usually dressed in black, really fits as dark, Indigo color.

And youngest Rose is real, amrt and out-goings, jsut as color of red Rose.

But, stranges for all 4 kids is Saffy, closed and shy. She's like that all since she was 8, since she learned to read, and since she could, from chair, read that there's no her name on color chard.

All since she found out that she's adopted.

Since then, Saffy si hunted by dreams about garden and stone angel with words "Saffy's Angel" on it. When Saffy mets little spoilt, stubborn girl from neiburhood, Sarah, who's born whith adventure spirit, this two best friends decice to go to Siena, town in Italy, where Eve's twin sister, Saffy's mother, lived with Saffy before she died in car accident, to find "Saffy's Angel".

But how will they get to Siena? Will they even go there? And what will happen with other Casson kids? All that you can find out in this exciting, family novel by Hialary McKay which will amke you cry... from laugh!

~*~

I'm sometimes vary critic about books, there are many that I like but only few of them are my fave. Saffy's Angel is one of few. It's sassy, funny, family, warm, deffrent, lovely, emotinal, beautiful... There are 100 more words that describe this novel!
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Prism Light on December 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
There are so many words to describe this book! The story was extremely creative and absorbing. The book started as decent, but into the middle I began becoming very interested and found myself not wanting to put it down. The book is so...different...original...to the point where even unessecary details were enjoyable and descriptive enough to picture in my mind. The characters were so easy to love and so memorably humorous! I just can't say enough about their strange ways of doing things and their odd-but-entertaining interests. I almost wish this book was a series instead of a novel, but I feel that it is close enough to the perfect story as it is. I really liked that it didn't focus completely on Saffy, but also on her artistic and loving family. I also liked that the characters got right to the point, instead of rambling for pages.

This one has become a major favorite of mine, and will be one that I recommend to all my friends!
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