Sunday, June 18, 2006

Cadmium, Indigo, Rose & Saffron

Hilary McKay's Saffy's Angel is a lovely jumble of things: a hunt for truth, a madcap artistic family of oddly endearing misfits, a friendship story, an adventure tale through foreign lands. The Banana House brought to mind The Burrow of the Weasley clan in it's tumbledown collection of family members and messy charm, though I felt that Mr. Casson struck me as more than a bit of a cad. I did enjoy learning each characters little quirks like Indigo's determination to overcome his fears - and I was terribly pleased to have Mr. Casson admit that his wife's painting of the children was a talented bit of work at the end - though I am fairly certain he did not say it aloud. Saffy's struggle to find her place in this topsy-turvy world was bittersweet and helped along immeasurably by her unexpected friendship with rich, manipulative Sarah -- who reminded me of a character that might have been played with great spunk by a young Hayley Mills. I know the author has gone on to write other books about this family, but I think my hour with them was enough. Saffy has her angel, Caddy is off to school, Indigo is over his fears, and Rose is most definitely Permanent. I can leave them happily circled around the repaired and burnished Angel of Siena.

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