Subscribe to The Horn Book
Family Reading logo

Read more Family Reading posts | Subscribe via RSS

Welcome to the Horn Book's Family Reading blog, a place devoted to offering children's book recommendations and advice about the whats and whens and whos and hows of sharing books in the home. Find us on Twitter @HornBook and on Facebook at

Visit the Boston Globe–Horn Book website.

On Elizabeth Wein’s “BGHB at 50: Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay” (from 2017)

I love Elizabeth Wein’s appreciation of Hilary McKay’s Saffy’s Angel, a 2002 Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor Book for fiction. Wein, herself the recipient of two BGHB Honors (among many other accolades), treats us not only to her perceptive thoughts about McKay’s masterful family stories but also to a glimpse into her own relationship with her now college-age daughter.

Here’s a sample that makes me want to be a part of their family:

“As a result of countless repetitions of the audiobook of Saffy’s Angel (read by the actress Julia Sawalha, the ‘Saffy’ of Absolutely Fabulous), certain lines from the book have percolated into our everyday speech and we don’t even realize we’re quoting them:

  • ‘Don’t call me darling, I’m a driving instructor!’ (Used whenever anyone calls you ‘darling.’)
  • ‘You can’t just go round killing people.’ (Numerous useful applications.)
  • ‘POOR FOX/SHE IS CRYING’ (In the context of passing any roadkill.)”

I’ve read Saffy’s Angel and the other Casson books, but it’s been awhile. I think it’s time for a family reunion.

About Kitty Flynn

Kitty Flynn is consulting editor for The Horn Book, Inc.



  1. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    You only work in a shop, you know.

  2. Kitty Flynn says:

    On point, as always!

Comment Policy:
  1. Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  2. Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  3. Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through (though some comments with links to multiple URLs are held for spam-check moderation by the system). If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

We accept clean XHTML in comments, but don't overdo it and please limit the number of links submitted in your comment. For more info, see the full Terms of Use.

Speak Your Mind