Saffy's Angel

by Hilary McKay

All of the Casson children have paint color names, given to them by their artist... read more

All of the Casson children have paint color names, given to them by their artist mother: Cadmium, Saffron, Indigo, and Rose. Their names, and their close bond with each other, add to the confusion and isolation Saffy (Saffron) feels when she discovers that she is adopted, and that the others are actually her cousins rather than siblings. When Saffy was three, her mother died in a car crash, and she was brought by her Grandfather to live with the Cassons. Saffy pulls away from the family as she tries to come to terms with her muddled emotions, and embarks on a quest to find a stone angel, a bequest from her Grandfather. Sarah, a new friend of Saffy’s and an unstoppable force, determines that the two girls will search for the angel at Saffy’s mother’s last residence. Doing so necessitates a trip to Siena, but Sarah is up to the challenge and soon Saffy is a stowaway as Sarah’s family embarks on an excursion to Italy. Although the plot borders on preposterous, the memorable characters in this unique and chaotic family, the excellent dialogue, and the laugh-out-loud humor conspire to create a thoroughly enjoyable book. Several entertaining sub-plots and distinctive secondary characters add to this masterfully orchestrated exploration of the definition of family. (Ages 9-13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

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