Saffy's Angel

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After learning that she was adopted, thirteen-year-old Saffron's relationship with her eccentric, artistic family changes, until they help her go back to Italy where she was born to find a special momento of her past.

Winner of the 2002 Whitbread Children's Book Award

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Overview

After learning that she was adopted, thirteen-year-old Saffron's relationship with her eccentric, artistic family changes, until they help her go back to Italy where she was born to find a special momento of her past.

Winner of the 2002 Whitbread Children's Book Award

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
At the start of this story, a girl learns that she is actually the Italian-born daughter of her supposed mother's twin sister, who died in a car crash when she was three. When her grandfather also dies and leaves her the statue of an angel, her search for it leads to more than one discovery. In a boxed review, PW called this "a memorable portrait of a vastly human family." Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Living at the Banana House, the name of the house that Saffron and her siblings live in, is a child's dream. Their artist father is in London during the week and their artist mother is positive that the children know more about raising children than she does so she lets them run the house. Still, it is a house built on love and on family. One day, while reading the color chart that her siblings' names were taken from (sisters Cadmium and Rose and brother Indigo,) she realizes that Saffron is not on the chart and she is told that she was adopted. When her grandfather dies and leaves property and money to her siblings but leaves for Saffy "her angel in the garden," Saffron sets out to find out what happened to her mother and where her angel is. The book is half fairy tale and half dramatic novel. While the story is, at times, unbelievable, the reader becomes caught up in the lyrical style of the author and in the perseverance of Saffron. 2002, Margret K McElderberry Books/Simon and Schuster,
— Heather Robertson
From The Critics
Longing suffuses the pages of Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay. Saffron is part of a loving, artistic, scruffy, big-hearted English family, but she can't seem to settle in and feel that she belongs. Her discovery that she was adopted—that she is, in fact, niece and not daughter, to Eve—changed everything for her. The deep, lost feelings eventually find a focus in a scrap from her grandfather's will: "For Saffron. Her angel in the garden." When Sarah, who lives down the street, happens to accidentally send her wheelchair crashing into Saffy, the girl becomes Saffy's first proper friend. And Sarah becomes—if possible—even more obsessed than Saffy, herself, with the angel. As they talk, Saffy remembers that the angel is real and made of stone; that it stood in the garden of the house in Italy where she lived before her mother died in a car crash. The two girls set out on a rollicking adventure, determined to hunt it down. Although nothing about the hunt goes as expected, they do ultimately find the angel. Broken. After all that trouble, Saffy thinks, melancholy again. Still, there is "too much going on at the Banana House for anyone to be sad very often." Part of the delight of reading any McKay book is the wry, understated humor. Another part is getting to know the people in them, in this case, Saffy's idiosyncratic family. They don't exactly seem real—a reader might go a whole lifetime and never meet a Saffy, a Cadmium, an Indigo, a Rose, an Eve, or anyone else from the pages of this book. But McKay's characters are fascinating in the same way that a particularly apt metaphor can feel at the same time surprising and somewhat unlikely, yet amazingly and deeply true. In the end, Saffy's Angelis a story about the warmth to be found right in the middle of the messiness and scruffiness of family life, even in families where one doesn't always feel orderly or cozy or even safe. 2002, Margaret McElderry,
— Jane Kurtz
School Library Journal
Gr 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.
Kirkus Reviews
When Saffron is eight, she finds out that she was adopted at age three, after her mother-her adoptive mother's sister-died in a car accident in Italy. For the next five years, she feels isolated despite her loving, sympathetic mother and siblings. Now 13, she learns that she has inherited a stone angel from her beloved grandfather and, since no one knows where it is, resolves to find it. With the help of her new friend Sarah and Sarah's parents, Saffron travels to Italy to seek her angel and returns more content. Although the focus is on Saffron's inner and outer journeys, the most vivid character turns out to be, not Saffron, but Rose, her shrewd, determined younger sister. Some very funny scenes revolve around Rose and her singular approach to life. Humor also springs from the eccentricities of the other family members, each of whom doggedly pursues interests, from painting to preparing for future polar expeditions. The secondary characters of Sarah and her parents stand out as unpredictable and engaging, making the trip to Italy the high point of the story. While not as distinctive as The Exiles and Dog Friday, this is nevertheless an enjoyable outing characterized by a spirit of warmth and humor. (Fiction. 9-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781840329704
  • Publisher: Ulverscroft Large Print Books, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 5/1/2004
  • Format: Cassette

Meet the Author

Hilary McKay won the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize with her first novel, The Exiles. Her subsequent work has achieved recognition: The Exiles at Home won the Smarties Prize, whilst Saffy's Angel, the first in the Casson Family series, won the Whitbread Award, for which the third book, Permanent Rose, was also shortlisted.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

When Saffron was eight, and had at last learned to read, she hunted slowly through the color chart pinned up on the kitchen wall.

It was a painter's color chart, from an artists' materials shop. It showed all the colors a painter could ever need. There were rows and rows of little squares, each a different shade of red or blue or green or golden yellow. Every little square had the name of the color underneath. To the Casson children those names were as familiar as nursery rhymes. Other families had lullabies, but the Cassons had fallen asleep to lists of colors.

Saffron found Indigo almost at once, a smoky dark blue on the bottom row of the chart. Indigo was two years younger than Saffron. His name suited him exactly.

"If there is one thing your mother was good at," Bill Casson, the children's father, would say, "it was choosing names for you children!"

Eve, the children's mother, would always look pleased. She never protested that there might be more than one thing that she was good at, because she never thought there was.

Indigo was a thin, dark-haired little boy with anxious indigo-colored eyes. He had a list in his head of things that did not matter (such as school), and another list of things that did. High on Indigo's list of things that mattered was his pack. That was how he thought of his sisters. His pack.

Saffron was the middle one of the pack.

Saffron had to climb onto a stool to see the color chart properly. The stool had a top of woven string that was coming unwoven, and its legs rocked on the irregular tiles of the kitchen floor.

"I can't find me," she grumbled to Indigo, wobbling on the stool. "I can't find Saffron written anywhere."

"What about the rest of us?" asked Indigo, not looking up. "What about the baby?"

Indigo was crouched on the hearth rug, sorting through the coal bucket. Pieces of coal lay all around. Sometimes he found lumps speckled with what he believed to be gold. He looked like a small black devil in the shadowy room with the firelight behind him.

"Come and help me look for Saffron!" pleaded Saffron.

"Find the baby first," said Indigo.

Indigo did not like the baby to be left out of anything that was going on. This was because for a long time after she was born, it had seemed she would be left out of everything, and forever. She had very nearly eluded his pack. She had very nearly died. Now she was safe and easy to find, third row up at the end of the pinks. Rose. Permanent Rose.

Rose was screaming because the health visitor had arrived to look at her. She had turned up unexpectedly, from beyond the black, rainy windows, and picked up Rose with her strong, cold hands, and so Rose was screaming.

"Make Rose shut up!" shouted Saffron from her stool. "I'm trying to read!"

"Saffron reads anything now!" the children's mother told the health visitor proudly.

"Very nice!" the health visitor replied, and Saffron looked pleased for a moment, but then stopped when the health visitor added that both her twins had been fluent readers at four years old and had gone right through their elementary school library by the age of six.

Saffron glanced across to Caddy, the eldest of the Casson children, to see if this could possibly be true. Caddy, aged thirteen, was absorbed in painting the soles of her hamster's feet, but she felt Saffron's unhappiness and gave her a quick, comforting smile. Since Rose's arrival the Casson family had heard an awful lot about the health visitor's multitalented twins. They were in Caddy's class at school. There were a number of rude and true things that Caddy might have said about them, but being Caddy, she kept them to herself. Her smile was enough.

Caddy appeared over and over on the color chart, all along the top row. Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Deep Yellow, Cadmium Scarlet, and Cadmium Gold.

No Saffron, though.

"There isn't a Saffron," said Saffron after another long search. "I've looked, and there isn't! I've read it all, and there isn't!"

Nobody seemed to hear at first. Caddy continued painting her hamster's feet. The baby continued screaming. Eve continued explaining to the health visitor (who frightened her very much) that she had not noticed anything at all wrong with Rose until the health visitor pointed it out, and the health visitor continued tut-tutting.

"I can't find Saffron!" complained Saffron crossly.

Indigo said, "Saffron's yellow."

"I know Saffron's yellow!"

"Well then, look under the yellows," Indigo said, and tipped the whole of the coal bucket upside down on the hearth, enveloping his end of the room in a cloud of coal dust.

This made the health visitor start coughing as well as tutting.

"I don't know how you keep your patience!" she said to Eve. Her voice showed that she thought it would be much better if Eve did not. She had dropped in to weigh Rose, as she often did, and had noticed at once that the baby had gone a very strange color. A sort of brownish mustard. She seemed to think it was a terrible thing that Rose should have gone mustard without anybody noticing. She began undressing her.

"I've looked under all the yellows," said Saffron loudly and belligerently, "and I've looked under all the oranges too, and there isn't a Saffron!"

Rose wailed even louder because she didn't want to be undressed. Her mother said, "Oh, darling! Darling!" Indigo began hammering at likely-looking lumps of coal with the handle end of the poker. Caddy let the hamster walk across the table, and it made a delicate and beautiful pattern of rainbow-colored footprints all over the health visitor's notes.

"Why isn't there a Saffron?" demanded Saffron. "There's all the others. What about me?"

Then the health visitor said the thing that changed Saffron's life. She looked up from picking something out of Rose's clenched fist and said to the children's mother, "Doesn't Saffron know?"

The words fell into a moment of silence. Rose held her breath between roars. Caddy's head jerked up and her eyes were startled. Indigo stopped hammering. Eve went scarlet and looked very confused and began an unhappy mumble. A not-yet, not-now sort of mumble.

"Know what?" asked Saffron, looking from the health visitor to her mother.

"Nothing, dear," said the health visitor in a bright, careless voice, and Saffron, who was frightened without knowing why, allowed herself to believe this was true.

"Nothing, nothing!" repeated the health visitor, half singing the words, and then in a completely different voice, "Good heavens! What on earth is this?"

Rose's fist had come undone, revealing that she held a tube of paint (Yellow Ochre), obviously very much sucked.

"Paint!" said the health visitor, absolutely horrified. "Paint! PAINT! She's had a tube of paint! This household...I don't know! She's been sucking a tube of paint!"

"What color?" asked Indigo immediately.

"Yellow Ochre," Caddy told him. "I gave it to her. I didn't think she'd suck it. Anyway, I'm only using nontoxic colors."

"Caddy!" said her mother, laughing. "No wonder she's gone such a funny color!"

"I'm ringing the hospital!" said the health visitor in a voice of controlled calm. "Wrap her up in something warm! Don't give her anything to drink! We'll go straight to Emergency...."

Then for a while Saffron forgot her worries while they all tried to convince the health visitor that none of Caddy's colors were in the least poisonous, and that Rose, except for needing washing, was quite all right.

"But why did you give it to her?" the health visitor asked Caddy.

"To make her let go of the Chinese White," said Caddy.

"Chinese White's sweet," explained Saffron, and then there was another fuss. While it was going on, Indigo got bored and went back to his gold hunting, bashing a lump of coal so hard that pieces flew everywhere, and the baby got a chunk to suck, and the hamster jumped in fright into the health visitor's bag, and the health visitor said, "Thank goodness my twins...! If that hamster has made a mess...I suppose this is what they call artistic...."

"Yes," said Eve eagerly. "They are all very — "

"You need the patience of a saint in my job!" said the health visitor as she left.

After she had gone, the children's mother hunted through the kitchen cupboards looking for something for supper. While she was doing it, she cried a bit because it was so hard being an artist with four children to look after, especially in wet weather, when rain blew under the kitchen door and down all the chimneys and into the hood of the car so that it would not start and she could not get to the supermarket. She thought wistfully of the shed at the end of the garden, her favorite place in the world.

Only Rose noticed she was crying. Rose watched her with unsurprised blue eyes, enjoying the sniffs.

The kitchen cupboard was full of nonfood sorts of food. Lentils and cereal and packaged sauces and jam. Eve had almost given up hope when she unearthed a large and completely unexpected can of baked beans, the sort with sausages in it, a small miracle.

"Daddy must have bought them!" she exclaimed, as happy as she had been miserable a moment before.

The beans changed everything. Saffron took over the toaster. Caddy put the hamster into its cage and cleared the table. Indigo picked up his lumps of coal. Permanent Rose sucked a crust of bread and smiled at everyone and waited patiently until someone should think of scrambling her an egg. Eve stirred the beans and sausages and was grateful to the children's father. He was a real artist, not a garden-shed one like herself. He was such a very real artist that he could work only in London. He rented a small studio at enormous expense and came home only on weekends. Real artists, he often explained to Caddy and Saffron and Indigo, cannot work with three children under their feet and a baby that wakes up several times every night.

"Clever, clever Daddy, buying beans!" said Eve.

"Rose could have an egg," suggested Caddy, reading Rose's mind.

"I wonder if Dad bought anything else," said Indigo, and he and Saffron at once began searching the kitchen cupboards themselves, hoping for more surprises. A lump of coal turned up, with a glitter of gold on it, and a bag of squashed pink and white marshmallows, which they floated on hot chocolate and shared with Rose from the end of a spoon. It was a very happy evening and bedtime before Saffron asked again, "Why isn't my name on the color chart? Why isn't there a Saffron?"

"Saffron is a lovely color," said her mother evasively.

"But it's not on the chart."

"Well..."

"The others are."

"Yes."

"But not me."

"I thought of calling you Siena. Or Scarlet."

"Why didn't you?"

There was a long, long pause.

"It wasn't me who chose your name."

"Dad?"

"No. Not Daddy. My sister."

"Your sister who died?"

"Yes. Go to sleep, Saffy. Rose is crying. I've got to go."

"Siena," whispered Saffy.

Saffy had a dream that came over and over. In the dream was a white paved place with walls. A sunny place, quiet and enclosed. There were little dark, pointed trees and there was the sound of water. The blue sky was too bright to look at. In the dream something was lost. In the dream Saffy cried. In the dream was the word, Siena.

Caddy's bed was close enough to touch. Saffy could tell by the feel of the darkness that Caddy was awake. She said, "Caddy, how long ago can you remember?"

"Oh," said Caddy, "ages. I can remember when I could only lie flat. On my back. I can remember how pleased I was when I learned to roll over."

"You can't!"

"I can. And I remember learning to crawl. It hurt my knees."

"No one can remember that far back!"

"Well, I can. I remember it quite clearly. The burny feeling it gave my knees."

"Do you remember a white stone garden?"

"What white stone garden?"

"Siena."

"No," said Caddy. "That was you, not me."

The next morning Indigo gave Saffron his gold-speckled lump of coal, and Cadmium added an extra color square to the top row of the paint chart, Saffron Yellow. In London, Bill Casson shut up his small (and very expensive) studio midweek and caught the first train home.

None of these things meant anything at all to Saffron. All she could think of was the terrible news that she had forced from Eve the night before. Bit by bit, while Rose slept and Indigo argued and Caddy watched and was silent, Saffron had dragged it out.

That was how she discovered that Eve was not her mother. Nor was a real (and nearly successful) artist in London her father. Worst of all, Caddy and Indigo and Rose were not her brother and sisters.

"You're not my family," said Saffron.

"We are!" cried Eve. "Of course we are! We adopted you! We wanted you! Your mother was my sister! Caddy and Indigo and Rose are your cousins!"

"That doesn't count," said Saffron.

"I'm not doing this right," said Eve, weeping. "There are books on how to do it right. I have read them. You were only three. You looked just like Caddy. You called me Mummy.

You were so happy. Almost as soon as you arrived, you were happy!"

"Why was it a secret?"

"It wasn't a secret!" protested Eve, trying to hug Saffron (who ducked). "I was waiting for the right time to tell you, that's all. And the longer I left it, the harder it was. I should have done it right at the start!"

"Caddy knew! And didn't tell me!"

"I forgot," said Caddy.

"Forgot!"

"Nearly always."

"No wonder I'm not on the color chart," said Saffron.

Everything seemed to change for Saffron after the day she deciphered the color chart and discovered that her name was not there and found out why this was. She never felt the same again. She felt lost.

"But everything is just the same," said Bill, trying to help. "Nothing has changed, Saffy darling. We love you just as much as we ever did. You are just as much ours as you always were."

"No, I'm not," said Saffy.

Eve produced photographs of Saffy's mother, but they were very confusing. Saffron's mother had been Eve's twin sister. They were so alike that even Eve had to puzzle over some of the pictures before she could say who was who.

"What about my father?" Saffron asked.

This was a difficult question. Saffron's mother had never told Eve anything about Saffron's father.

"Your mummy never talked about him," she said at last.

"Not even to you?"

"Well," said Eve, sighing as she remembered. "She was in Italy and I was in England. So it was difficult. I was always going to go and visit her, and I never quite did. I wish I had."

"Was she an artist? Like you."

"Oh, no," said Eve. "Linda was much cleverer than me! She taught English. In Italy. In Siena. You were born in Siena, that's why I thought it would make such a good name...."

Saffron was not listening. She looked at the picture of her mother again and said, "Anyway, she's dead."

"Yes."

"Killed in a car crash."

"Yes, darling."

"Where was I? Did I see her dead?"

"No," said Eve with relief. "You were at home. At your home in Siena. With Grandad. He was visiting."

"Grandad!"

"Yes. He was there when it happened. He brought you back here to us."

"Grandad did?"

"Yes, Grandad did. He wasn't always like he is now, Saffy darling."

The Casson children's grandfather was like nothing at all. He lived in a nursing home. He sat. Sometimes in summer he sat in the garden, guided there with a nurse at each side. Sometimes he sat in a lounge and looked at a television set that was not always switched on. Often Eve would collect him and bring him back home with her, and he would sit there instead.

Only once, in all his years of sitting, had he said a word to show that he remembered anything at all of his previous life. He had said, "Saffron."

Everyone had heard.

"Is Grandad still my grandad?" Saffron asked Eve, when it seemed that the whole pattern of her family was slipping and changing, like colors in water, into something she hardly recognized.

Eve said that of course he was. Just as he had always been. Exactly the same.

"But was he my grandad right from the beginning?" persisted Saffron, determined to have the truth this time. "Like he was Caddy's and Indigo's and Rose's?"

"Yes," said Eve at once, and Caddy added, "He is just as much your grandad as ours, Saffy. More."

"More?" asked Saffron suspiciously.

"Much more," said Caddy, "because he remembers you. He knows your name. Everybody heard. He said, 'Saffron.'"

"Yes, he did," Saffron agreed, and allowed herself to feel a tiny bit comforted.

Caddy was the only one of the Casson children who could recall the days when their grandfather could drive and walk and talk and do things like anybody else. She told Saffron about the evening when he had arrived at the house, bringing Saffron home.

"He had a green car. A big green car and it was full of toys. He'd brought all your toys, he told us. Every crayon. Every scrap of paper. You used to pick up stones, he said. Little bits of stone. He brought them all. In a can."

Nothing was ever thrown away in the Casson family. Saffron went upstairs to the bedroom she shared with Caddy and Rose and raked around until she found the scratched blue coffee can. The stones were still there, bits of gold sandstone, marble chips, and a fragment of a red roof tile.

"Grandad said, 'She's cried all the way. Not for her mother. For something else. I should have managed to bring it somehow. I promised I would. I shall have to go back.'"

"What was he talking about?"

"I don't know. He went away that same night. We didn't see him again for ages and ages, and when we did, he was different."

"What sort of different?"

"Like he is now," said Caddy.

Copyright © 2001 by Hilary McKay

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First Chapter

Chapter One

When Saffron was eight, and had at last learned to read, she hunted slowly through the color chart pinned up on the kitchen wall.

It was a painter's color chart, from an artists' materials shop. It showed all the colors a painter could ever need. There were rows and rows of little squares, each a different shade of red or blue or green or golden yellow. Every little square had the name of the color underneath. To the Casson children those names were as familiar as nursery rhymes. Other families had lullabies, but the Cassons had fallen asleep to lists of colors.

Saffron found Indigo almost at once, a smoky dark blue on the bottom row of the chart. Indigo was two years younger than Saffron. His name suited him exactly.

"If there is one thing your mother was good at," Bill Casson, the children's father, would say, "it was choosing names for you children!"

Eve, the children's mother, would always look pleased. She never protested that there might be more than one thing that she was good at, because she never thought there was.

Indigo was a thin, dark-haired little boy with anxious indigo-colored eyes. He had a list in his head of things that did not matter (such as school), and another list of things that did. High on Indigo's list of things that mattered was his pack. That was how he thought of his sisters. His pack.

Saffron was the middle one of the pack.

Saffron had to climb onto a stool to see the color chart properly. The stool had a top of woven string that was coming unwoven, and its legs rocked on the irregular tiles of the kitchen floor.

"I can't find me," she grumbled to Indigo, wobbling on the stool. "I can't find Saffron written anywhere."

"What about the rest of us?" asked Indigo, not looking up. "What about the baby?"

Indigo was crouched on the hearth rug, sorting through the coal bucket. Pieces of coal lay all around. Sometimes he found lumps speckled with what he believed to be gold. He looked like a small black devil in the shadowy room with the firelight behind him.

"Come and help me look for Saffron!" pleaded Saffron.

"Find the baby first," said Indigo.

Indigo did not like the baby to be left out of anything that was going on. This was because for a long time after she was born, it had seemed she would be left out of everything, and forever. She had very nearly eluded his pack. She had very nearly died. Now she was safe and easy to find, third row up at the end of the pinks. Rose. Permanent Rose.

Rose was screaming because the health visitor had arrived to look at her. She had turned up unexpectedly, from beyond the black, rainy windows, and picked up Rose with her strong, cold hands, and so Rose was screaming.

"Make Rose shut up!" shouted Saffron from her stool. "I'm trying to read!"

"Saffron reads anything now!" the children's mother told the health visitor proudly.

"Very nice!" the health visitor replied, and Saffron looked pleased for a moment, but then stopped when the health visitor added that both her twins had been fluent readers at four years old and had gone right through their elementary school library by the age of six.

Saffron glanced across to Caddy, the eldest of the Casson children, to see if this could possibly be true. Caddy, aged thirteen, was absorbed in painting the soles of her hamster's feet, but she felt Saffron's unhappiness and gave her a quick, comforting smile. Since Rose's arrival the Casson family had heard an awful lot about the health visitor's multitalented twins. They were in Caddy's class at school. There were a number of rude and true things that Caddy might have said about them, but being Caddy, she kept them to herself. Her smile was enough.

Caddy appeared over and over on the color chart, all along the top row. Cadmium Lemon, Cadmium Deep Yellow, Cadmium Scarlet, and Cadmium Gold.

No Saffron, though.

"There isn't a Saffron," said Saffron after another long search. "I've looked, and there isn't! I've read it all, and there isn't!"

Nobody seemed to hear at first. Caddy continued painting her hamster's feet. The baby continued screaming. Eve continued explaining to the health visitor (who frightened her very much) that she had not noticed anything at all wrong with Rose until the health visitor pointed it out, and the health visitor continued tut-tutting.

"I can't find Saffron!" complained Saffron crossly.

Indigo said, "Saffron's yellow."

"I know Saffron's yellow!"

"Well then, look under the yellows," Indigo said, and tipped the whole of the coal bucket upside down on the hearth, enveloping his end of the room in a cloud of coal dust.

This made the health visitor start coughing as well as tutting.

"I don't know how you keep your patience!" she said to Eve. Her voice showed that she thought it would be much better if Eve did not. She had dropped in to weigh Rose, as she often did, and had noticed at once that the baby had gone a very strange color. A sort of brownish mustard. She seemed to think it was a terrible thing that Rose should have gone mustard without anybody noticing. She began undressing her.

"I've looked under all the yellows," said Saffron loudly and belligerently, "and I've looked under all the oranges too, and there isn't a Saffron!"

Rose wailed even louder because she didn't want to be undressed. Her mother said, "Oh, darling! Darling!" Indigo began hammering at likely-looking lumps of coal with the handle end of the poker. Caddy let the hamster walk across the table, and it made a delicate and beautiful pattern of rainbow-colored footprints all over the health visitor's notes.

"Why isn't there a Saffron?" demanded Saffron. "There's all the others. What about me?"

Then the health visitor said the thing that changed Saffron's life. She looked up from picking something out of Rose's clenched fist and said to the children's mother, "Doesn't Saffron know?"

The words fell into a moment of silence. Rose held her breath between roars. Caddy's head jerked up and her eyes were startled. Indigo stopped hammering. Eve went scarlet and looked very confused and began an unhappy mumble. A not-yet, not-now sort of mumble.

"Know what?" asked Saffron, looking from the health visitor to her mother.

"Nothing, dear," said the health visitor in a bright, careless voice, and Saffron, who was frightened without knowing why, allowed herself to believe this was true.

"Nothing, nothing!" repeated the health visitor, half singing the words, and then in a completely different voice, "Good heavens! What on earth is this?"

Rose's fist had come undone, revealing that she held a tube of paint (Yellow Ochre), obviously very much sucked.

"Paint!" said the health visitor, absolutely horrified. "Paint! PAINT! She's had a tube of paint! This household...I don't know! She's been sucking a tube of paint!"

"What color?" asked Indigo immediately.

"Yellow Ochre," Caddy told him. "I gave it to her. I didn't think she'd suck it. Anyway, I'm only using nontoxic colors."

"Caddy!" said her mother, laughing. "No wonder she's gone such a funny color!"

"I'm ringing the hospital!" said the health visitor in a voice of controlled calm. "Wrap her up in something warm! Don't give her anything to drink! We'll go straight to Emergency...."

Then for a while Saffron forgot her worries while they all tried to convince the health visitor that none of Caddy's colors were in the least poisonous, and that Rose, except for needing washing, was quite all right.

"But why did you give it to her?" the health visitor asked Caddy.

"To make her let go of the Chinese White," said Caddy.

"Chinese White's sweet," explained Saffron, and then there was another fuss. While it was going on, Indigo got bored and went back to his gold hunting, bashing a lump of coal so hard that pieces flew everywhere, and the baby got a chunk to suck, and the hamster jumped in fright into the health visitor's bag, and the health visitor said, "Thank goodness my twins...! If that hamster has made a mess...I suppose this is what they call artistic...."

"Yes," said Eve eagerly. "They are all very — "

"You need the patience of a saint in my job!" said the health visitor as she left.

After she had gone, the children's mother hunted through the kitchen cupboards looking for something for supper. While she was doing it, she cried a bit because it was so hard being an artist with four children to look after, especially in wet weather, when rain blew under the kitchen door and down all the chimneys and into the hood of the car so that it would not start and she could not get to the supermarket. She thought wistfully of the shed at the end of the garden, her favorite place in the world.

Only Rose noticed she was crying. Rose watched her with unsurprised blue eyes, enjoying the sniffs.

The kitchen cupboard was full of nonfood sorts of food. Lentils and cereal and packaged sauces and jam. Eve had almost given up hope when she unearthed a large and completely unexpected can of baked beans, the sort with sausages in it, a small miracle.

"Daddy must have bought them!" she exclaimed, as happy as she had been miserable a moment before.

The beans changed everything. Saffron took over the toaster. Caddy put the hamster into its cage and cleared the table. Indigo picked up his lumps of coal. Permanent Rose sucked a crust of bread and smiled at everyone and waited patiently until someone should think of scrambling her an egg. Eve stirred the beans and sausages and was grateful to the children's father. He was a real artist, not a garden-shed one like herself. He was such a very real artist that he could work only in London. He rented a small studio at enormous expense and came home only on weekends. Real artists, he often explained to Caddy and Saffron and Indigo, cannot work with three children under their feet and a baby that wakes up several times every night.

"Clever, clever Daddy, buying beans!" said Eve.

"Rose could have an egg," suggested Caddy, reading Rose's mind.

"I wonder if Dad bought anything else," said Indigo, and he and Saffron at once began searching the kitchen cupboards themselves, hoping for more surprises. A lump of coal turned up, with a glitter of gold on it, and a bag of squashed pink and white marshmallows, which they floated on hot chocolate and shared with Rose from the end of a spoon. It was a very happy evening and bedtime before Saffron asked again, "Why isn't my name on the color chart? Why isn't there a Saffron?"

"Saffron is a lovely color," said her mother evasively.

"But it's not on the chart."

"Well..."

"The others are."

"Yes."

"But not me."

"I thought of calling you Siena. Or Scarlet."

"Why didn't you?"

There was a long, long pause.

"It wasn't me who chose your name."

"Dad?"

"No. Not Daddy. My sister."

"Your sister who died?"

"Yes. Go to sleep, Saffy. Rose is crying. I've got to go."


"Siena," whispered Saffy.

Saffy had a dream that came over and over. In the dream was a white paved place with walls. A sunny place, quiet and enclosed. There were little dark, pointed trees and there was the sound of water. The blue sky was too bright to look at. In the dream something was lost. In the dream Saffy cried. In the dream was the word, Siena.

Caddy's bed was close enough to touch. Saffy could tell by the feel of the darkness that Caddy was awake. She said, "Caddy, how long ago can you remember?"

"Oh," said Caddy, "ages. I can remember when I could only lie flat. On my back. I can remember how pleased I was when I learned to roll over."

"You can't!"

"I can. And I remember learning to crawl. It hurt my knees."

"No one can remember that far back!"

"Well, I can. I remember it quite clearly. The burny feeling it gave my knees."

"Do you remember a white stone garden?"

"What white stone garden?"

"Siena."

"No," said Caddy. "That was you, not me."

The next morning Indigo gave Saffron his gold-speckled lump of coal, and Cadmium added an extra color square to the top row of the paint chart, Saffron Yellow. In London, Bill Casson shut up his small (and very expensive) studio midweek and caught the first train home.

None of these things meant anything at all to Saffron. All she could think of was the terrible news that she had forced from Eve the night before. Bit by bit, while Rose slept and Indigo argued and Caddy watched and was silent, Saffron had dragged it out.

That was how she discovered that Eve was not her mother. Nor was a real (and nearly successful) artist in London her father. Worst of all, Caddy and Indigo and Rose were not her brother and sisters.

"You're not my family," said Saffron.

"We are!" cried Eve. "Of course we are! We adopted you! We wanted you! Your mother was my sister! Caddy and Indigo and Rose are your cousins!"

"That doesn't count," said Saffron.

"I'm not doing this right," said Eve, weeping. "There are books on how to do it right. I have read them. You were only three. You looked just like Caddy. You called me Mummy.

You were so happy. Almost as soon as you arrived, you were happy!"

"Why was it a secret?"

"It wasn't a secret!" protested Eve, trying to hug Saffron (who ducked). "I was waiting for the right time to tell you, that's all. And the longer I left it, the harder it was. I should have done it right at the start!"

"Caddy knew! And didn't tell me!"

"I forgot," said Caddy.

"Forgot!"

"Nearly always."

"No wonder I'm not on the color chart," said Saffron.

Everything seemed to change for Saffron after the day she deciphered the color chart and discovered that her name was not there and found out why this was. She never felt the same again. She felt lost.

"But everything is just the same," said Bill, trying to help. "Nothing has changed, Saffy darling. We love you just as much as we ever did. You are just as much ours as you always were."

"No, I'm not," said Saffy.

Eve produced photographs of Saffy's mother, but they were very confusing. Saffron's mother had been Eve's twin sister. They were so alike that even Eve had to puzzle over some of the pictures before she could say who was who.

"What about my father?" Saffron asked.

This was a difficult question. Saffron's mother had never told Eve anything about Saffron's father.

"Your mummy never talked about him," she said at last.

"Not even to you?"

"Well," said Eve, sighing as she remembered. "She was in Italy and I was in England. So it was difficult. I was always going to go and visit her, and I never quite did. I wish I had."

"Was she an artist? Like you."

"Oh, no," said Eve. "Linda was much cleverer than me! She taught English. In Italy. In Siena. You were born in Siena, that's why I thought it would make such a good name...."

Saffron was not listening. She looked at the picture of her mother again and said, "Anyway, she's dead."

"Yes."

"Killed in a car crash."

"Yes, darling."

"Where was I? Did I see her dead?"

"No," said Eve with relief. "You were at home. At your home in Siena. With Grandad. He was visiting."

"Grandad!"

"Yes. He was there when it happened. He brought you back here to us."

"Grandad did?"

"Yes, Grandad did. He wasn't always like he is now, Saffy darling."

The Casson children's grandfather was like nothing at all. He lived in a nursing home. He sat. Sometimes in summer he sat in the garden, guided there with a nurse at each side. Sometimes he sat in a lounge and looked at a television set that was not always switched on. Often Eve would collect him and bring him back home with her, and he would sit there instead.

Only once, in all his years of sitting, had he said a word to show that he remembered anything at all of his previous life. He had said, "Saffron."

Everyone had heard.

"Is Grandad still my grandad?" Saffron asked Eve, when it seemed that the whole pattern of her family was slipping and changing, like colors in water, into something she hardly recognized.

Eve said that of course he was. Just as he had always been. Exactly the same.

"But was he my grandad right from the beginning?" persisted Saffron, determined to have the truth this time. "Like he was Caddy's and Indigo's and Rose's?"

"Yes," said Eve at once, and Caddy added, "He is just as much your grandad as ours, Saffy. More."

"More?" asked Saffron suspiciously.

"Much more," said Caddy, "because he remembers you. He knows your name. Everybody heard. He said, 'Saffron.'"

"Yes, he did," Saffron agreed, and allowed herself to feel a tiny bit comforted.

Caddy was the only one of the Casson children who could recall the days when their grandfather could drive and walk and talk and do things like anybody else. She told Saffron about the evening when he had arrived at the house, bringing Saffron home.

"He had a green car. A big green car and it was full of toys. He'd brought all your toys, he told us. Every crayon. Every scrap of paper. You used to pick up stones, he said. Little bits of stone. He brought them all. In a can."

Nothing was ever thrown away in the Casson family. Saffron went upstairs to the bedroom she shared with Caddy and Rose and raked around until she found the scratched blue coffee can. The stones were still there, bits of gold sandstone, marble chips, and a fragment of a red roof tile.

"Grandad said, 'She's cried all the way. Not for her mother. For something else. I should have managed to bring it somehow. I promised I would. I shall have to go back.'"

"What was he talking about?"

"I don't know. He went away that same night. We didn't see him again for ages and ages, and when we did, he was different."

"What sort of different?"

"Like he is now," said Caddy.

Copyright © 2001 by Hilary McKay

Read More Show Less

Introduction

About the Books

The Casson family — four creative children, an absentminded mother, largely absent father, ragtag group of friends, ramshackle house, and large collection of guinea pigs — is unlike any you've ever seen. Beginning with Saffy's Angel and continuing through Indigo's Star, Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After and Forever Rose, Hilary McKay has chronicled the lives of this unique, mad, and utterly brilliant clan. Whether Indigo is dealing with bullies at school, Rose is stealing engagement rings, or Caddy is deciding whom she loves enough to marry, the Casson family is up to the challenge. Quirky, loving, and wise beyond their years, this British brood has advetures you won't want to miss.

About the Author

Hilary McKay is the award-winning author of many beloved novels, such as Saffy's Angel, which was the winner of the Whitbread Award, an ALA Notable Book, a Boston Globe - Horn Book Award Honor Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2002, as well as several picture books, including Was That Christmas?, illustrated by Amanda Harvey. Hilary lives with her family in Derbyshire, England.

Discussion Questions

  • Where do the Casson children get their names? Do these names fit them? What do their names, and how they got them, tell us about the family in general?
  • What do you think about Bill's and Eve's styles of parenting? In what ways are their styles similar, and in what ways are they different? Are they good parents? Do you think the four children would have turned out differently if they'd been brought up by a more traditional couple?
  • InSaffy's Angel, why is it so important to Saffy that she find the memento from her grandfather? Does it matter that, in the end, it's her siblings who end up finding it?
  • Does Saffy's status in the family change when she discovers the identity of her father? Why or why not? What prompted Saffy to look for her real father?
  • Despite the family being so close-knit, both Saffy and Rose talk about feeling lonely. What is the reason that each of them feels lonely? How do they each deal with their loneliness?
  • The Casson children have several friends — Sarah, Tom, and David — who come to be like members of the family. How did each of these friendships begin? Is this the "normal" way to become friends with someone? Do these strange beginnings affect the quality of the friendships?
  • Why does Indigo become a target for the gang of bullies in Indigo's Star? How does his place in the group change when he becomes friends with Tom? What does Indigo have to do to stop being a victim to the gang?
  • Why do Rose and Tom get along so well? Does their relationship affect how Tom relates to the rest of the family? How does his affection for Rose help him when there is a crisis in his own family?
  • Indigo has a number of fears, including heights, Caddy's driving, and losing his sisters. How does he deal with his fears? Is he the only Casson child who is afraid of things? What are the others afraid of, and how do they deal with their fears?
  • In Permanent Rose, why does Rose start shoplifting? Does she view this as a bad thing to do? How does she feel about the fact that David is the only person who figures out what she's doing?
  • Discuss Rose's relationship with Bill. Is it different from the other characters' relationships with him? In what ways is Bill a disappointment to Rose, and in what ways is he just what she needs?
  • The format of Caddy Ever After is different from the other books. Why do you think the author chose to write the book this way? How does it change the way you experience the story?
  • Caddy goes through a lot of boyfriends and has trouble committing to Michael. Why is it so hard for her to think about being married to him? Why does she agree to marry Alex? Why doesn't she tell Michael about Buttercup?
  • Why doesn't Rose read? Do you agree with Saffy and Sarah that it's important for her to start reading? Are there any similarities between Rose's reading problem and Caddy's difficulty with passing her exams?
  • How does Rose's trip to the zoo in Forever Rose change her and the circumstances in her life? Is she happy with these changes? Do you think she should have been punished?
  • Why is it so important to David that he be accepted by the Casson family? What makes it so difficult for this to happen?
  • How does the artistic nature of the Casson family affect each of the children? What would their lives be like without art and music? How do the people around them feel about the creativity of the household?

Activities

  • Bill, Eve, and Rose are all talented painters who find great joy in this form of artistic expression. Gather some supplies and paint something that you love — your family, your pet, your favorite spot — and see if you enjoy it.
  • One night, Sarah and Saffy map out a route from England (where they live) to America (where Tom lives). See if you can plan a route from London to New York...one that does not involve an airplane.
  • After years of raising hamsters and guinea pigs, Caddy devotes her adult life to working with animals. Find some place in your community — an animal shelter, a zoo, an aquarium, etc. — where you can volunteer with animals.
  • Tom teaches Indigo how to play the guitar, and then David takes up the drums. Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument? Look into renting an instrument and taking lessons.
  • Go to an art supply store and find a paint chart like the one that hangs in the Casson kitchen. Which colors do you think would make good names?
  • The Casson family is very dramatic, and many interesting things go on in their home. Choose your favorite scene and act it out. Be as creative and dramatic as you can.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

About the Books

The Casson family — four creative children, an absentminded mother, largely absent father, ragtag group of friends, ramshackle house, and large collection of guinea pigs — is unlike any you've ever seen. Beginning with Saffy's Angel and continuing through Indigo's Star, Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After and Forever Rose, Hilary McKay has chronicled the lives of this unique, mad, and utterly brilliant clan. Whether Indigo is dealing with bullies at school, Rose is stealing engagement rings, or Caddy is deciding whom she loves enough to marry, the Casson family is up to the challenge. Quirky, loving, and wise beyond their years, this British brood has advetures you won't want to miss.

About the Author

Hilary McKay is the award-winning author of many beloved novels, such as Saffy's Angel, which was the winner of the Whitbread Award, an ALA Notable Book, a Boston Globe - Horn Book Award Honor Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2002, as well as several picture books, including Was That Christmas?, illustrated by Amanda Harvey. Hilary lives with her family in Derbyshire, England.

Discussion Questions

  • Where do the Casson children get their names? Do these names fit them? What do their names, and how they got them, tell us about the family in general?
  • What do you think about Bill's and Eve's styles of parenting? In what ways are their styles similar, and in what ways are they different? Are they good parents? Do you think the four children would have turned out differently if they'd been brought up by a more traditional couple?
  • In Saffy's Angel, why is it so important to Saffy that she find the memento from her grandfather? Does it matter that, in the end, it's her siblings who end up finding it?
  • Does Saffy's status in the family change when she discovers the identity of her father? Why or why not? What prompted Saffy to look for her real father?
  • Despite the family being so close-knit, both Saffy and Rose talk about feeling lonely. What is the reason that each of them feels lonely? How do they each deal with their loneliness?
  • The Casson children have several friends — Sarah, Tom, and David — who come to be like members of the family. How did each of these friendships begin? Is this the "normal" way to become friends with someone? Do these strange beginnings affect the quality of the friendships?
  • Why does Indigo become a target for the gang of bullies in Indigo's Star? How does his place in the group change when he becomes friends with Tom? What does Indigo have to do to stop being a victim to the gang?
  • Why do Rose and Tom get along so well? Does their relationship affect how Tom relates to the rest of the family? How does his affection for Rose help him when there is a crisis in his own family?
  • Indigo has a number of fears, including heights, Caddy's driving, and losing his sisters. How does he deal with his fears? Is he the only Casson child who is afraid of things? What are the others afraid of, and how do they deal with their fears?
  • In Permanent Rose, why does Rose start shoplifting? Does she view this as a bad thing to do? How does she feel about the fact that David is the only person who figures out what she's doing?
  • Discuss Rose's relationship with Bill. Is it different from the other characters' relationships with him? In what ways is Bill a disappointment to Rose, and in what ways is he just what she needs?
  • The format of Caddy Ever After is different from the other books. Why do you think the author chose to write the book this way? How does it change the way you experience the story?
  • Caddy goes through a lot of boyfriends and has trouble committing to Michael. Why is it so hard for her to think about being married to him? Why does she agree to marry Alex? Why doesn't she tell Michael about Buttercup?
  • Why doesn't Rose read? Do you agree with Saffy and Sarah that it's important for her to start reading? Are there any similarities between Rose's reading problem and Caddy's difficulty with passing her exams?
  • How does Rose's trip to the zoo in Forever Rose change her and the circumstances in her life? Is she happy with these changes? Do you think she should have been punished?
  • Why is it so important to David that he be accepted by the Casson family? What makes it so difficult for this to happen?
  • How does the artistic nature of the Casson family affect each of the children? What would their lives be like without art and music? How do the people around them feel about the creativity of the household?

Activities

  • Bill, Eve, and Rose are all talented painters who find great joy in this form of artistic expression. Gather some supplies and paint something that you love — your family, your pet, your favorite spot — and see if you enjoy it.
  • One night, Sarah and Saffy map out a route from England (where they live) to America (where Tom lives). See if you can plan a route from London to New York...one that does not involve an airplane.
  • After years of raising hamsters and guinea pigs, Caddy devotes her adult life to working with animals. Find some place in your community — an animal shelter, a zoo, an aquarium, etc. — where you can volunteer with animals.
  • Tom teaches Indigo how to play the guitar, and then David takes up the drums. Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument? Look into renting an instrument and taking lessons.
  • Go to an art supply store and find a paint chart like the one that hangs in the Casson kitchen. Which colors do you think would make good names?
  • The Casson family is very dramatic, and many interesting things go on in their home. Choose your favorite scene and act it out. Be as creative and dramatic as you can.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

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(9)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2007

    AMAZING!!! OUTSTANDING!!!!! BRILLIANT!!!!!!!

    Saffy's Angel was a great book. When eight-year-old Saffron Casson began to read, the first thing she realized was that her name wasn't on the paint chart. All the other children in the family were named by their mother and artist, Eve. The names were all chosen from the paint chart on the wall- Caddy (Cadium Gold), Indigo, and Rose. Soon, the secret slips out and Saffy realizes that she is adopted. Saffy's world becomes upside-down, Caddy, Indigo, and Rose were not her siblings- they were her cousins, Eve and Bill were not her parents but her aunt and uncle. When Grandad dies, he leaves a will. He gives Caddy his house (now nearly falling off a cliff), Indigo his car, and Rose is remaining money. 'For Saffron. Her angel in the garden. The stone angel.' Saffron longs for her angel, so her rich friend, Sarah takes a trip to Siena, Italy- Saffy's birthplace, with Saffy in search of the angel. This book is an amazing novel that I read three times. It is defintely a page-turner.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2006

    6th grade book lover

    If you havn't read Saffy's Angel, then I think you should, I thought it was very interesting.It was so interesting that I couldn't put the book down. In Saffy's Angel,the characters are really funny! They all have dfferent moods, and it makes the book really good. The title, Saffy's Angel, is the perfect title for this book. The title goes exactly with it and it made me want to keep on reading the book becuase it caught my attention. The author, Hilary McKay, completed the goal that every author wants. In the beginning, it was boring, trust me, but while I kept reading, it was really exciting! Expecially when Saffy found her angel,but it was broken. Then Caddy fixed it and repainted it. She made it look brand new. What the author did, was make you want to keep on reading. Also while I read, I had alot of connections. Some connections I had while I read were real world connections, literature and media connections, and experiences. The problem, Saffy was looking for her angel that her grandfather left in his will, but couldn't find it,went throughout most of the book and that makes it even better. This book was so good, that when I read it, I could see the pictures in my head! If you never read the book, hurry and stop reading this because the book is so good! Have fun reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2010

    You have to read this!

    The fictional novel Saffy's Angel written by Hilary McKay is a sad and captivating story that takes place in England. The story begins when the main character, Saffy finds out she was adopted by her artistic aunt, uncle, and cousins named Cadmium, Rose, and Indigo. She figures out her parents died in a car crash and her loving grandfather took her all the way from Siena, Italy to her new home named The Banana House. Later on in the novel Saffy's grandfather dies and leaves a will listing one thing for each child. Her grandfather leaves her something called Saffy's Angel. Saffy meets a new friend named Sarah who cries her way into anything and helps Saffy find her angel. After a little thinking Saffy remembers that her stone angel is in the garden in Siena where she used to live. For the sake of helping a friend, Sarah convinces her parents to take her to Siena. Sarah, her parents, and Saffy hiding under a beanbag and luggage drives to Siena. They discover in Siena that Saffy's grandfather brought it back a long time ago. When Saffy's cousins hear the news they are determined to find the angel. Saffy's youngest cousin thinks he knows where it is, determination leads the three siblings to uncover something amazing. Hilary McKay has a creative writing style. One thing I noticed about Hilary McKay's writing style is that occasionally she'll have short sentences but the rest of the time she'll write the perfect length. .I also noticed that she used third person writing style. For example Hilary wrote: All the Casson children were named after colors on the paint chart. I could tell she used third person because throughout the novel she used the characters names, she never used the words I, mine, or any words having to do with yourself. The last thing I noticed is how she used all five senses to describe something. For example on page 12 it says: The Casson House had been chosen by the parents before Caddy was born. They had liked it because it was unspoiled. Unspoiled meant no central heating, coal fires in every room, and its old particular smell, which was a mixture of dampness, soot and a sort of green smell that came in from the garden. The garden always seemed to be creeping into the house. Ivy crept in through the windowpanes. Wood lice and beetles and ants had their own private entrances. Hilary McKay's writing style is creative different from other author's writing. I would recommend the book Saffy's Angel to girls because it doesn't involve any action and it isn't about anything dangerous or scary. I would also recommend this book for 9 year olds to 12 year olds because it would to challenging for kids younger than 7 and to easy for 13 year olds and higher. Lastly I would recommend this book for people who like a bit of adventure and mystery because this book is about the search for a stone angel. The characters have to find where the angel is and put together clues to find it. Some similar novels to Saffy's Angel are the books Caddy Ever After, Permanent Rose, Indigo's Star, and Forever Rose. They are similar because they are all part of the series, are written by the same author, and include the same the same character are written by the same author, and include the same characters. Saffy's Angel had many positives and negatives. My first positive on this book was how the author got right into the story, she didn't drag on. Within the first few pages of the book the main idea had begun.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Genuine

    This book is about an artistic family. Saffron has lived her life, thinking that her older sister was Cadium Gold, her younger siblings were Indigo and Permanent Rose, her father was Bill, and her mother was Eve. Things get flip-flopped for Saffron (Saffy as a nickname) when she finds about the truth about her grandfather and mother. This book is mysterious and the start to a great series!
    The books I recommended are the rest of the series-
    *Indigo's Star
    *Permanent Rose
    *Caddy Ever After
    *Forever Rose
    The series tells all about Saffy and her family. Another book I recommended is "Sand Dollar Summer", because it is about a young girl who has family conflicts, and goes on adventures, just like Saffy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    An amazing book

    This book teaches you that even if your name isn't on the color chart you still fit in, find friends and maybe even a new love.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2006

    From A book lover ***

    This is a really great book.Saffy's grandfather dies and leaves something for each child. For Caddy,his property, for Indigo, his car, for Rose his money, and for Saffy, her angel.Saffy meets a girl named Sarah and has a special friendship. WHEN YOU READ THIS YOU MIGHT HAVE A SPECIAL FEELING.Now it's your turn. Just read the book!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2004

    Saffy's Angel review , by a 6th grade student

    After 13 year-old Saffy finds out that she is adopted and her Grandfather dies she is out to find what her Angel is (an angel that her Grandfather said she had in his will) Her family thinks it is just a stone angel made of rock or clay but nothing important. Saffy knows it is real and she wont give up. This book teaches alot of lessons, my most favorite one though is to never give up, no matter how many people aren't on your side.This is a great book and I am loving reading it(im sure my book report on this book for school is going to be great!) This is a great book for 10 year olds to 110 year olds . YOU SHOULD DEFINATELY READ IT !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2004

    BRAVO!

    I absolutley love this book! It teaches you to never give up. I loved the whole storyline and the idea of the names. It was a great book and I encourage you to read this book if you are looking for an exciting adventure!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2002

    Saffy's Angel

    This story is about the Casson family, mainly focusing on the four children: Cadmium (Caddy), Saffron (Saffy), Indigo, and Rose, who are all named after colors, with the exception of Saffy who is really their adopted cousin. Saffy is the Italian-born daughter of Eve¿s (the mother), twin sister. Her mother died when she was only 3 and was brought to England to live with her cousins. The family is very eccentric with both Eve and the father (Bill), who lives in London, being artists. After the children's grandfather dies, they are all left gifts ¿ Caddy gets his cottage, Indigo gets his car, and Rose gets his left over cash. "For Saffron. Her angel in the garden. The stone angel." The children spend their days very imaginatively and go on wild adventures to retrieve Saffy's angel. The story involves a different family structure where adoption is present and where the father lives away from the home. All that is good because in this day and age, many families are drastically different from the ¿ideal¿ nuclear family in the 1950s. This book is good for late elementary school children, but girls will be more likely to be drawn to it than boys. In addition, all the characters in this story came alive, the dialogue was often very humorous, and there were so many adventures that I found it difficult to put the book down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2009

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