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*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


*****Saffy's Angel

by Hilary McKay

Reviewed 03/03/03.
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 of 2003:  My Favorite Children's Book of the Year

I read this book because Horn Book magazine 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 Book Lovers.)

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's World
Indigo's Star
Permanent Rose
Caddy Ever After
Forever Rose

The Exiles
The Exiles at Home
The Exiles in Love
Lulu and the Duck in the Park
Lulu and the Dog from the Sea
Lulu and the Cat in the Bag
Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door

A Reader Rating from Ceri gives Saffy's Angel five stars and the comment:  "The book was really enjoyable, packed with adventure and excitment."

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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