Hilary McKay won the Guardian Children's Award with her first novel, The Exiles. Her subsequent work has achieved similar recognition - The Exiles at Home won the Smarties Prize and Saffy's Angel won the Whitbread. A graduate of Botany and Zoology from St Andrews University, Hilary now writes full-time. She lives in Derbyshire with her husband and two children.
Gr 5-7-This final installment in the Casson family saga finds 11-year-old Rose feeling deserted and confused. Saffy and Indigo are busy with their teenage pursuits, Caddy has been missing for nearly a year since her almost-wedding to not-Michael in Caddy Ever After (S & S, 2006), Mummy is spending all her time in her artist's shed to avoid spreading germs from a bad case of bronchitis, and Daddy Bill is still living in London, finding the peace and quiet he can't get at home. To make matters worse, Rose does not like Mr. Spencer, "the new irritated teacher of class 6." She is having a difficult time with reading, is deeply disappointed when no one has time to shop for a Christmas tree, and is affronted by the ubiquitous presence of Indigo's displaced friend, David, and his problematic drum set. However, her spunky friend Kiran is unfailingly loyal and supportive, and, when their schoolmate Molly proposes an extension of their class trip to the zoo into a secret overnight stay, the two agree to go along. What results from this mischievous, if dangerous, escapade are some surprising resolutions to Rose's disenchantment with school and home, and even a new configuration of the family. McKay is at the top of her game with this poignant, hilarious account, narrated in diary form by irrepressible, artistic Rose. Readers will empathize with her frustrations, secretly admire her and Kiran's sassiness, and cheer as everything falls nicely, and unexpectedly, into place.-Marie Orlando, Suffolk Cooperative Library System, Bellport, NY Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
'A crazily fantastic story with loads of mad and hilarious moments.' -- Independent on Sunday 'It does what we hope JK Rowling would do: it makes everything you wish for come true, including the unlikeliest of outcomes.' -- Sunday Times 'Hilary McKay's wittily observed portrayals of family life are full of warmth, vitality and irrepressible good humour.' -- Kate Agnew, The Guardian 'just the sort of crazy family you ache to be a part of.' -- The Good Book Guide 'it's wonderful to have more stories about the engaging and uncommon Casson family!' -- Parents Express '... we are so fond of this fresh, funny, foolish, wise, real family.' -- The Horn Book Magazine '... as wild and endearing as ever ... Another charmer for Casson fans.' -- Booklist '... touching and hiarious. Beautifully crafted descriptive language makes this offering a real gem.' -- School Library Journal 'McKay has a genius for domestic comedy.' -- The Sunday Times 'Hilary McKay's strength lies in her understanding of young people and her ability to evoke them very simply.' -- The Guardian 'Warm, witty and wise, with unfeasibly broad appeal and proven anti-depressive properties, i would give this book to 9-year olds, teenagers and their parents.' -- Sunday Telegraph '... hugely entertaining story effortlessly recreates a tightly knit world, imbued with a strong sense of belonging - a slice of childhood so multi-layered, touching and real that there's something for every child reader to identify with and savour. Here's a book that truly proves the joys to be had from reading.' -- Books for Keeps 'stylishly written, acutely observed, light-headed and often very funny. At times, it's also incredibly touching and insightful, particularly when dealing with the complexities of family life ... quality writing for children.' -- School Librarian
The fifth--and, sadly, final--volume about the Casson family, Brits like the author, is the best of them all, a jewel of a domestic comedy. Rose, the youngest, is now 11 and occupies an as yet uncharted zone between daft and brilliant. Writing in a diary (she cheerfully ignores the printed dates and supplies her own), she copes with her separated but still doting parents, her talented siblings and the assorted people they collect (where is Caddy, the oldest sister, when she periodically phones Rose? And what is to be done with David, her brother's lummox of a friend who has been kicked out by his mother and has no place to put his drum set?). Then there's Rose's friend Molly, with her nutty plan to hide out overnight at the zoo in the arctic foxes' shelter, a scheme Rose will go along with only because she's certain it will fail. McKay is an expert at twinning the point of view: she lets readers see Rose's logic, but her timing calls forth every bit of the situational humor. The ending ties all the ends together--some may say too neatly, but fans will find the wrapup utterly satisfying. Ages 10-14. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.