Thanks to barsine, I have finally read Hilary McKay. I was turned off McKay by Saffy's Angel, or rather its cover, which made it look like an irritatingly cutesy tome about someone "searching for her angel". However, I discovered that the aforementioned angel was actually a literal one, in statue form, rather than some odious spiritual guide, so encouraged by barsine, I gave the Cassons a try. And loved them. It was a proper children's family book, the sort I loved as a child, a less deranged heir to the Bagthorpes and a more edgy heir to Noel Streatfeild. So I read all three Casson books in about five minutes. And now I'm reading The Exiles, which came out in 1991, and am wishing it had come out just a few years earlier because when I was twelve, a book about four squabbling but fond sisters who spend much of their "exile" at their grandmother's house looking desperately for something to read (because Big Grandma doesn't seem to have any books and they were only allowed to take two each from home) would have been all too perfect. The references to sisters hovering over each other's new library books, waiting to pounce the minute the reader has finished, are totally spot on, as are the careful planning of who brings waht books (which goes terribly awry when the youngest sister includes a colouring book and a boring baby book about a rabbit called Nicholas). You can tell that the author is one of four girls as well (we can recognise each other, perhaps). Anyway, I am in love with Hilary McKay, and can't believe it took me so long to read her.