Margaret K. McElderry Books, New York, 2002.
First published in Great Britain, 2001. 152 pages.
A Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book for 2002.
Available at Sembach Library (JF MCK)
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out
My Favorite Children's Book of the Year
I read this book because Horn Book
gave it an award and a glowing review. I was absolutely
delighted! Yes, I’m even giving a five-star rating to a book
that isn’t fantasy. (You can find a link to Horn Book
magazine's website on my page Links for
It’s rare for a children’s book to present the
true chaos of a big family. Usually, they paint an unrealistically
organized and romanticized picture. This book gets the details
right--the chaos and clutter, and the precocious independence
of the children, even to preparing their own meals. Granted,
four children don’t really make a very big family, but this book captures
the idea. Yet we don’t feel sorry for these kids, because
they are strongly and wonderfully loved.
The Casson children are all named after colors--Cadmium,
Saffron, Indigo and Rose. The day that Saffy discovers
her name isn’t on the paint chart is the day that she learns she
is adopted. The main theme of the book is Saffy’s quest to
feel that she truly belongs, but that serious theme is leavened with
delightful, wonderful humor.
Every person in the Casson family, from their artist
parents to baby Rose who eats paint, is a quirky, distinct individual.
Put together in this wonderful book, we get a story that kept
me chuckling and smiling from start to finish. This book
will appeal to a wide range of ages, starting with upper elementary
and reaching all the way to adults.
Reviews of other books by Hilary McKay:
Caddy Ever After
The Exiles at Home
The Exiles in Love
A Reader Rating from Ceri gives Saffy's Angel
five stars and
the comment: "The book was really enjoyable, packed with adventure