Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Colorful Cassons

This humorously captioned color chart is a trade postcard, advertising the BBC Good Homes Show 2002,
held at the National Exhibition Center
in Birmingham, England, 3 - 6 May 2002.
Click on chart to enlarge, and enjoy the clever paint names!

Written by British author, Hilary McKay, the five Casson Books are a great series, not only for teens (let's say PG 13, as there is a substantial amount of adult conflict) but also for precocious younger readers, and for adults like me and my nephew Daniel (maybe you, too!) who keep on discovering new adolescent favorites no matter how old we get! For more in this genre, see my post Summer Make Believe (July 2009).

The Casson parents are eccentric artists, who have named all their children after colors: Cadmium, Saffron, Rose, and Indigo. * The parents' naming method made me think of a story from childhood about a family whose last name is Apple. Each child is named after a type of apple: Jonathan, Macintosh, Golden Delicious, until the last little girl comes along and the parents fear they are out of names. So the dad goes to the library (this was before Google!) and discovers that there is a variety called the Snow Apple: a perfect name for the new baby! Does anyone else happen to recall this story? I am going to have to track that book down and re-read!

The first novel in the Casson series, Saffy's Angel (2001), opens and closes with a reference to the all - important paint chart on the wall of their chaotic kitchen: "Each little square had the name of the color underneath. To the Casson children those names were as familiar as nursery rhymes. Other families had lullabies, but the Cassons had fallen asleep to lists of colors" (1, Saffy's Angel).

Color Chart Reflected in Cake Knife

You are going to love the Casson Family! And also the Conroys!

Thoughts About Thinking From Hilary McKay

"Only people with no mental resources get bored."
from The Exiles in Love (122)

"Rachel's diary . . . In it every meal she had eaten that summer had been carefully recorded. Writing accounts of mere events, she had soon decided, was a waste of time and not at all necessary. For example, she could look at the previous Sunday's entry: 'Ordinary breakfast, roast chicken, peas, pots, runny trifle pudding, egg sandwiches, chocolate cake, ginger cookies,' and the whole day's happenings would immediately spring to mind and insert themselves neatly between the appropriate meals. Rachel thought that everyone's brain worked this way."

Even better than Rachel's "meticulous record of . . . eating" (which I think just might work for me as a method of recollection!) is the girls' description of their grandmother's way of thinking: " . . . she doesn't forget things. She notices everything and it goes into her head and makes patterns. Or something. So the more she notices, the more she knows."

from The Exiles (148, 201)
and The Exiles at Home (102)



* Indigo has appeared on this blog once before. See my post "Never Fear" (September 2009).

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