Saffy’s Angel, by Hilary McKay


This is a lovely, engaging story that will appeal to girls. 13 year old Saffy lives in a household of artists with her disorganized but talented mother Eva, her teenage sister Caddy,  her brother Indigo, and her other little sister Rose. Their father Bill is a “professional artist” who lives in London during the week, pursuing his career, or at least his own very tidy vision of what an artist should be, in his impeccable grey suede jacket. Yes, the children are all named after paint colors, Cadmium, Indigo, Permanent Rose, and Saffron. Oops, but one day Saffy is looking at the paint chart in the kitchen and realizes that her name is not on the chart. Why not?

Saffy discovers that she was actually adopted. Her mother Linda was Eva’s sister. She and Saffy lived in Siena, Italy. When her mother died, her grandfather came to pick up the three year old Saffy and all her toys and other belongings and take her to live with Eva. Well, almost all her belongings. She cried and cried in the car because he didn’t bring her angel, a stone statue from the garden. Instead he wrote her name at the bottom of it and said he would come back for it. Fast forward ten years and her beloved grandfather passes away. In his will he leaves the children things that pretty much disappeared long ago. In a shakey handwritten note he leaves Saffy the angel. Does it still exist and where is it?

In this gentle and often very funny story, Saffy becomes friends with the little girl confined to a wheelchair who lives up the street. Meanwhile Caddy is trying to get her driver’s license. She has had over 90 hours behind the wheel with a young man she secretly fancies. But, it seems he already has a girlfriend. Indigo is afraid of heights so he sits on his window sill to get over it. Rose creates wild paintings made from food.

Saffy loves her famiy, but now she knows that she is adopted! Do they really love her? Will her world ever be the same? And where is her angel?

McKay, Hilary. (2001). Saffy’s Angel. New York: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing. ISBN 0-689-84933-8. 152 pages. Recommended for ages 8-14.

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About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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