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Indigo's Star

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Reading Group Guide

About the Books

The Casson family — four creative children, an absentminded mother, largely absent father, ragtag group of friends, ramshackle house, and large collection of guinea pigs — is unlike any you've ever seen. Beginning with Saffy's Angel and continuing through Indigo's Star, Permanent Rose, Caddy Ever After and Forever Rose, Hilary McKay has chronicled the lives of this unique, mad, and utterly brilliant clan. Whether Indigo is dealing with bullies at school, Rose is stealing engagement rings, or Caddy is deciding whom she loves enough to marry, the Casson family is up to the challenge. Quirky, loving, and wise beyond their years, this British brood has advetures you won't want to miss.

About the Author

Hilary McKay is the award-winning author of many beloved novels, such as Saffy's Angel, which was the winner of the Whitbread Award, an ALA Notable Book, a Boston Globe - Horn Book Award Honor Book, and a School Library Journal Best Book of 2002, as well as several picture books, including Was That Christmas?, illustrated by Amanda Harvey. Hilary lives with her family in Derbyshire, England.

Discussion Questions

  • Where do the Casson children get their names? Do these names fit them? What do their names, and how they got them, tell us about the family in general?
  • What do you think about Bill's and Eve's styles of parenting? In what ways are their styles similar, and in what ways are they different? Are they good parents? Do you think the four children would have turned out differently if they'd been brought up by a more traditional couple?
  • In Saffy's Angel, why is it so important to Saffy that she find the memento from her grandfather? Does it matter that, in the end, it's her siblings who end up finding it?
  • Does Saffy's status in the family change when she discovers the identity of her father? Why or why not? What prompted Saffy to look for her real father?
  • Despite the family being so close-knit, both Saffy and Rose talk about feeling lonely. What is the reason that each of them feels lonely? How do they each deal with their loneliness?
  • The Casson children have several friends — Sarah, Tom, and David — who come to be like members of the family. How did each of these friendships begin? Is this the "normal" way to become friends with someone? Do these strange beginnings affect the quality of the friendships?
  • Why does Indigo become a target for the gang of bullies in Indigo's Star? How does his place in the group change when he becomes friends with Tom? What does Indigo have to do to stop being a victim to the gang?
  • Why do Rose and Tom get along so well? Does their relationship affect how Tom relates to the rest of the family? How does his affection for Rose help him when there is a crisis in his own family?
  • Indigo has a number of fears, including heights, Caddy's driving, and losing his sisters. How does he deal with his fears? Is he the only Casson child who is afraid of things? What are the others afraid of, and how do they deal with their fears?
  • In Permanent Rose, why does Rose start shoplifting? Does she view this as a bad thing to do? How does she feel about the fact that David is the only person who figures out what she's doing?
  • Discuss Rose's relationship with Bill. Is it different from the other characters' relationships with him? In what ways is Bill a disappointment to Rose, and in what ways is he just what she needs?
  • The format of Caddy Ever After is different from the other books. Why do you think the author chose to write the book this way? How does it change the way you experience the story?
  • Caddy goes through a lot of boyfriends and has trouble committing to Michael. Why is it so hard for her to think about being married to him? Why does she agree to marry Alex? Why doesn't she tell Michael about Buttercup?
  • Why doesn't Rose read? Do you agree with Saffy and Sarah that it's important for her to start reading? Are there any similarities between Rose's reading problem and Caddy's difficulty with passing her exams?
  • How does Rose's trip to the zoo in Forever Rose change her and the circumstances in her life? Is she happy with these changes? Do you think she should have been punished?
  • Why is it so important to David that he be accepted by the Casson family? What makes it so difficult for this to happen?
  • How does the artistic nature of the Casson family affect each of the children? What would their lives be like without art and music? How do the people around them feel about the creativity of the household?

Activities

  • Bill, Eve, and Rose are all talented painters who find great joy in this form of artistic expression. Gather some supplies and paint something that you love — your family, your pet, your favorite spot — and see if you enjoy it.
  • One night, Sarah and Saffy map out a route from England (where they live) to America (where Tom lives). See if you can plan a route from London to New York...one that does not involve an airplane.
  • After years of raising hamsters and guinea pigs, Caddy devotes her adult life to working with animals. Find some place in your community — an animal shelter, a zoo, an aquarium, etc. — where you can volunteer with animals.
  • Tom teaches Indigo how to play the guitar, and then David takes up the drums. Have you ever wanted to learn how to play an instrument? Look into renting an instrument and taking lessons.
  • Go to an art supply store and find a paint chart like the one that hangs in the Casson kitchen. Which colors do you think would make good names?
  • The Casson family is very dramatic, and many interesting things go on in their home. Choose your favorite scene and act it out. Be as creative and dramatic as you can.

This reading group guide has been provided by Simon and Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780689865633
Publisher:
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Location:
New York
Author:
McKay, Hilary
Subject:
Friendship
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - General
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Social Situations - General
Subject:
Social Situations - Adolescence
Subject:
Family - Siblings
Subject:
Brothers and sisters
Subject:
School & Education
Subject:
England
Subject:
Bullies
Subject:
Social Issues - General
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-General
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st U.S. ed.
Edition Description:
Hardback
Series Volume:
767/768
Publication Date:
September 2004
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
from 3 up to 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
f/c jkt
Pages:
272
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 12.215 oz
Age Level:
08-12

Related Subjects

Children's » General
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Reference » Family and Genealogy
Children's » Situations » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Adolescence
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Friendship

Indigo's Star
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 272 pages Margaret K. McElderry Books - English 9780689865633 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Fans of Saffy's Angel will welcome this return visit to the spirited English family, the Cassons, whose artist parents — endearingly dotty Eve and frustratingly absent Bill — have named their progeny from a paint color chart. This time 12-year-old Indigo takes center stage with his well-meaning younger sister Rose, who is concerned about her brother's victimization by a gang of bullies in his class (she writes a string of simultaneously funny and wistful letters to Bill, recapping each 'crisis' to lure him home). Older sister Saffy, 'blazing like an angry comet,' storms into the boys' bathroom at school and valiantly threatens the thugs if they dare touch Indigo again (in a satisfying move, she tears out a clump of the bully's hair). But the gang continues to torment Indigo as well as Tom, an American who is spending the school year with his grandmother in England. Much of the narrative centers on the evolving friendship between Indigo and Tom, a lonely, guitar-playing boy who, like wheelchair-bound Sarah from the previous novel, feels happy for the first time in a long span while with the Cassons. The growing bond between Tom and Rose provides a second emotional axis to the novel, and McKay's portrayal of the family dynamics and the dialogue among the Cassons are as riotous and refreshing as ever. The initial interaction between Indigo and Tom rings curiously hollow, but the situation reverses itself as their rapport deepens. Fans will be hoping for another installment in this memorable family's adventures. Ages 8-12. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , It's back to school for the start of a new term, and the eccentric Cassons are up to their old tricks!

Indigo, having just recovered from a bout of mononucleosis, must return to school after missing an entire semester. Only his younger sister and loyal sidekick, Rose, knows why he's dreading it so much. As it turns out, the school bullies are eagerly awaiting Indigo's return so that they can pick up where they left off — flushing his head in the toilet. But Indigo hasn't counted on meeting Tom, an American student who is staying with his grandmother in England for the year. With his couldn't-care-less attitude and rock-and-roll lifestyle, Tom becomes Indigo's ally, and together they work to take back the school.

Meanwhile, eight-year-old Rose is desperately trying to avoid wearing horrible glasses, nineteen-year-old Caddy is agonizing over her many suitors, Saffy is working overtime with her best friend, Sarah, to protect Indigo from the gang, and with their father, Bill, in London at his art studio, their mother, Eve, is just trying to stay on top of it all!

In this hilarious, heartwarming companion to her award-winning Saffy's Angel, Hilary McKay shows us a new side of the Cassons and reminds us that nothing is stronger than the bonds of family.

"Synopsis" by , In this hilarious companion to "Saffy's Angel," Indigo Casson returns to school after missing a semester due to mono, but he dreads dealing with the school bullies again. Soon Indigo meets Tom, an American who becomes his ally.
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