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Saffy's Angel (Casson Family #1)

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  3,567 Ratings  ·  356 Reviews
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year 2002A Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book 2002A Junior Library Guild SelectionSaffron Casson has discovered that she's adopted. The daughter of her mother's twin, Saffy was brought back by her Grandad from Siena, Italy, when her mom died in a car crash. At Grandad's death, he leaves something to Saffy: it is her angel. How ...more
Hardcover, Large Print
Published December 31st 2003 by Thorndike Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mar 29, 2014 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
Saffy's Angel is poignant and hilarious, and very, very British, and absolutely fabulous. I don't quite know how to recap it without ruining the constant surprise of the humor, but why don't you meet the characters?

Here's Rose:
Rose was still awake, late though it was. She was painting a desert landscape on the white wall of the landing. She had got rid of her father very successfully when he telephoned. Saffron had hardly been mentioned; the discussion had been all about art. The desert landsca
Sherwood Smith
Jun 22, 2009 Sherwood Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A LiveJournal friend introduced me to the novels of Hilary McKay. They are not fantasies or science fiction, and yet one of their attractions is that peculiar timelessness of certain types of family novels that center around kids, as written by English authors. Well, no, a few Americans have done them, though not many as far as I know. Elizabeth Enright being one. But anyway, they remind me of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle and Antonia Forest's Marlows (note just how much used copies go for! ...more
Melissa McShane
It’s very hard to explain why this book is so beautiful and so moving. I can start with the barest of summaries:
Saffron didn’t know she was adopted until she couldn’t find her name on the paint color chart in the Cassons’ wonderfully disorganized house. Even though Eve and Bill Casson, her aunt and uncle, treat her as one of their own children, Saffy feels left out--until her grandfather’s will reveals a legacy she’d almost forgotten, a stone angel from her old home in Italy.
But this doesn’t beg
Jacob Proffitt
Aug 04, 2013 Jacob Proffitt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Saffy's Angel starts off a bit harrowing as the author drives you immediately into the world of a family afflicted with artism and associated dysfunctions. Fortunately, that first scene includes a walk-on by a woman who can be used to represent your every-day sensibilities and if you let her carry your own quibbles and expectations as she leaves, you'll be just fine. If you can't do this, there's no way to enjoy the book so you'd best stop there.

Fortunately for those of us not tied too tightly t
Sep 25, 2008 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Delightful! A touch of "everything old is new again" here. As comforting and nostalgic as warm rice pudding. The narrator's tone and the characters' language made me often feel I was reading the sort of books I read as a child (translation: books at least 25+ years old). And yet, convincingly contemporary, in particular with wry humor and unidealized characters. The author's affection for all her characters, much as she laughs at them, is one of the book's principal charms. I'm in search of the ...more
May 26, 2012 Sara added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Recommended to Sara by: Elizabeth
I wrote a critical essay for school on this, and it was labelled (by the teacher who hasn't read it) as "girly teen fiction", because it is not about war or best friends killing each other (although there are deaths, and best friends). Fiction? Yes. Teen? Maybe, although there is a massive variety of ages that enjoy this book. Girly? No. My brother enjoys this book. He doesn't like reading, but still he is working on getting through the rest of the series.
Maybe people on Goodreads will apprciate
Sep 28, 2009 Elizabeth added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
I just LOVE Hilary McKay. I have read Saffy's Angel several times now and it STILL makes me laugh out loud again and again--even when I know what's coming.

The scene where the Casson kids drive to Wales--that's just got to be the funniest scene in a hundred years of writing for children. It's just genius. I also found myself really enjoying the excavation of the house.

I say again: If more contemporary children's writers wrote like THIS, I would not be so bitter and twisted. I wish I wrote like th
To be quite honest, the overwhelming twee at the beginning put me out. I could deal with the kids being twee, because they are kids, but the parenting in this book really annoyed me throughout, and even, in Bill's case, super enraged me. (I think as a kid I would have found Eve's behavior cool, or whatever, but as a parent myself, oh boy, I had Thoughts.)

I got into the story for Caddy and Michael, though - all conversations very well-rendered in audio form, "MICHAEL, DARLING!" "Don't call me dar
Rachel Brown
Aug 15, 2012 Rachel Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s, england
Lovely British children's book about a family of eccentrics. The mom is an absent-minded painter who named her children after paint colors, the hilariously insensitive father is nearly entirely absent, and the four kids are up to assorted hijinks involving keeping hamsters in pockets, stowing away to Italy, and searching for Saffron's inheritance, a missing stone angel.

A plot description doesn't do it justice. McKay is one of those writers (mostly British, in my experience) who writes short, see
BEST FAMILY EVER. Droopy Di. Michael the driving instructor. Sarah and her wheelchair and her parents in France! The siblings. The color chart that started it all.

“She had to go,” said Rose.
“It was because of her angel,” said Indigo.
“And because of Granddad,” added Caddy.
“And because of her nose stud.”
“And because her name isn’t on the color chart.”
“She’s lonely,” said Rose. “That’s why.”

Reviewed more in depth here at the YA/MG book battle. I plan on reading the rest of the books in this series
Jemma Routledge
Nov 20, 2015 Jemma Routledge rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was recommended to me by a friend. It was one of those moments when I judged a book by the cover. However my judgement was wrong. I really enjoyed it and would recommend it.
Laura Tink
Dec 30, 2015 Laura Tink rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. From the cover it originally seems like a girly teen book but I actually found it very moving at times. I also loved that every character has their own story which adds to the whole plot.
This was CHARMING. It reminded me of the older children's books I read as a kid. I laughed my way through the last few chapters and the ending was WONDERFUL.

(view spoiler)
Brandy Painter
Review originally poster here.

Could I live in the Casson house? Absolutely not. Could I enjoy an extended stay? Absolutely not. Would I enjoy an afternoon visit? Maybe. Visiting them through the pages of their story is my ideal. That way I am not literally experiencing the mess or chaos.

Saffy and the search for her angel are certainly the core of the book but the heart of the story is all the Casson children. Saffy is distant and temperamental but obviously loves her quirky siblings very much. C
Meet the Cassons—Saffy’s very eccentric, tight-knit family that includes an older sister who can’t drive a lick despite 99 lessons from a cute instructor; a brother who tries to overcome his many fears through unconventional means; a baby sister who is a small force to be reckoned with; a distant dad who spends most of the time working in his London studio; and a ditzy mom who works on her art in a shed at the family’s home outside the city. All of the Casson children—Cadmium, Indigo, and Rose—a ...more
If you haven't met Hilary McKay's enchanting Casson family, then make sure you remedy this omission! Their parents are painters- Bill, their father is a successful and acclaimed artist, living and working in London; Eve, their mother, make ends meet by painting popular subjects and teaching art classes. The children- Caddy, Indigo, Saffron and Rose- get by as best they can in their loving but slightly chaotic home.

Saffron is the focus of this book. She discovers at the age of 8 that she is the a
Merrie Haskell
I'm really amazed that there's something out there that captures the spirit of Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle plus all those interlaced family novels I read as a kid (though I'm blanking on any titles, but I guess somewhere between All of a Kind Family and Little Women), and doesn't sacrifice the modern world. There are mobile phones! It's not trapped in some ridiculous past masquerading as the present--it is thoroughly the present. But it has a pleasant sensibility of another time.

The Casso
Mary Alice
Oct 02, 2016 Mary Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jfic
re-read it and it seemed a little slow in the beginning, but then became so charming that it was every bit as good as I remembered.
Apr 05, 2015 Alison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really sweet and lovely, family-focused MG> Especially loved the trip to Sienna!
Nov 20, 2015 Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saffy (short for Saffron) lives in Great Britain with her mother Eve, her father Bill, her 2 sisters Caddy (short for Cadmium), Rose (short for Permanent Rose) all named for colors from her artists parents paint chart.
When Saffy was eight she looked for her name on the color chart and could ot find it - that's when she finds out her mother is Eve's twin sister who was killed in an automobile accident in Italy. Saffy's grandfather brought Saffy to live with her aunt, uncle and cousins. Saffy's
Feb 08, 2015 Julianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every time I visited the public library, which was often, I passed by this book. Sitting in the turnstile, it regularly caught my attention, but I dismissed it upon closer inspection. At ten years old, I certainly judged this book by it's cover - a girl in a 90's style dress accompanied by a title I misread as "Safety's Angel" gave me the impression that it was a girly story involving guardian angels and the protection of children from danger (and adventure). Therefore I would snort and seek so ...more
Jul 16, 2014 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A friend recommend Saffy's Angel to my youngest daughter, who read it, enjoyed it, and then recommended it to me. I liked it a lot as well. It tells about Saffron, whose siblings (Rose, Cadmium, and Indigo) were all named after paints on the color chart (their parents are artists). Saffy discovers that her name isn't on the chart, and sure enough -- she's adopted. She ends up on an adventurous journey looking for an elusive angel figurine that her beloved grandfather left her in his will.

I won't
Jan 18, 2009 Frankie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saffy's Angel is a delightful children's book centered around the artistic, chaotic, dysfunctional, yet loving Casson family. As it often is with children's literature, the author effectively removes the restraining influence of parental supervision, allowing the children (Cadmium , Saffron, Indigo, and Rose) to partake in great adventure. (Their mother, Eve spends most of her time painting in her garden shed studio and their artist father, Bill, escapes the chaos by traveling to London during t ...more
Janine Chalmers
May 19, 2015 Janine Chalmers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books13-25
Saffy lived in a small cottage nicknamed “the banana house” by her family. Eve, her mother, was a painter who spent long hours in the shed in the backyard. Caddy, her oldest sister, is trying desperately to get her drivers license. Indigo and Rose are both younger than her. They have a bad habit of getting into mischief while their father isn’t home. When Saffy learned to read she realized something odd about the family color wheel. Caddy (short for cadium), Indigo, and Rose all had their names ...more
Oct 17, 2014 Linnea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
genre: realistic fiction - series

summary: The Cassion family is unique. They are all artistic in their own way and tend to things that no normal family would do. Eve, the mother, spends most of her time painting in a shed in the yard. Caddy, the teenage daughter, raises guinea pigs in the yard and hamsters in the house, Indigo, the son, spends a lot of time hanging out of the upstairs window trying to conquer his fear of heights, baby Rose sucks on tubes of paint, Bill, the father, is a professi
Jul 04, 2013 Melody rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I fell in love with Saffy's delightful, goofy family. I hope there are more books about them. It's a book positively infused with gentleness, a bemused goodwill, and love. So much love on every page. No surprises, no tears. I left it in the observation car on the train and was happy to see a young girl engrossed in it the very next day. A sheer delight.
Nov 23, 2013 Susan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens, library
Cadmium Gold, Indigo, Saffron, and Permanent Rose are the unconventional children of unconventional artist parents. But then Saffron discovers her name isn't on the list of paint colors like the other kids. How does she fit into this family anyway? And will Caddy learn to drive, Indigo become a polar explorer and Rose finish her mural?
Jun 06, 2012 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids, 2012
What a perfectly delightful book. I'm totally hooked on the Casson family now and so glad to see there are more books about them! I laughed so hard while I read this-the characters are irresistible. Reading about this sweet, eccentric English family was a real treat.
Jun 29, 2007 Patti rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-loved
What a clever, whimsical and amusing story. The characters in this story are so memorable that I just wanted more, more, more. Thank goodness for sequels!
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Saffy's Angel movie? what would that be a good idea? 5 24 Nov 24, 2013 04:02PM  
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Hilary McKay was born in Boston, Lincolnshire and is the eldest of four girls. From a very early age she read voraciously and grew up in a household of readers. Hilary says of herself as a child "I anaesthetised myself against the big bad world with large doses of literature. The local library was as familiar to me as my own home."

After reading Botany and Zoology at St. Andrew's University Hilary
More about Hilary McKay...

Other Books in the Series

Casson Family (6 books)
  • Caddy's World (Casson Family, #0)
  • Indigo's Star (Casson Family, #2)
  • Permanent Rose (Casson Family, #3)
  • Caddy Ever After (Casson Family, #4)
  • Forever Rose (Casson Family, #5)

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“Don't call me darling. I'm a driving instructor!” 52 likes
“I can only drive slowly."
"That's all right."
"And I can only do left turns."
Rose ran downstairs, grabbed a road atlas, and ran triumphantly back up again. "Wales is left! Look! It's left all the way!”
More quotes…