Suddenly, everything changes. Sumac has to give up her room to make the newcomer feel at home. She tries to be nice, but prickly Grumps's clearly disapproves of how the Lotterys live: whole grains, strange vegetables, rescue pets, a multicultural household... He's worse than just tough to get along with -- Grumps has got to go But can Sumac help him find a home where he belongs?
- ISBN-13: 9780545925815
- ISBN-10: 0545925819
- Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
- Publish Date: March 2017
- Page Count: 320
- Reading Level: Ages 8-12
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 1.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.15 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-12-19
- Reviewer: Staff
One of the most diverse families readers are likely to meet, the Lotteryswhose name was inspired by the winning lottery ticket that made a dream for a family come trueare four longtime friends turned coparents (a lesbian couple and a gay one) and seven homeschooled children of various racial backgrounds, quirks, and talents. The family enjoys a harmoniously unconventional existence in its 32-room Toronto mansion until the estranged father of one of the Lottery parents arrives for a visit of undetermined length. The change in dynamics caused by the elderly mans stubbornness and conservatism is especially hard on nine-year-old Sumac, who is assigned to be his personal guide. In a drily funny story about adjusting to new situations, Donoghue (Room) vividly captures the Lotterys chaotic but always loving home through a flurry of inside jokes, banter, and nicknames. If some readers have difficulty keeping the members of the large family straight, Hadilaksonos lively David Robertsesque illustrations, not all seen by PW, provide a colorful guide to the Lotterys wonderfully offbeat home. Ages 812. Authors agent: Kathleen Anderson, Anderson Literary. Illustrators agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Mar.)
An unconventional family bands together to welcome a new member
In a departure from such evocative adult works as Room and The Wonder, Emma Donoghue crafts her first novel for children, The Lotterys Plus One. Set in progressive Toronto, it begins: “Once upon a time, a man from Delhi and a man from Yukon fell in love, and so did a woman from Jamaica and a Mohawk woman.” When the two couples befriended one another, had a baby together and won the lottery, the result is enough money to buy a huge home (dubbed Camelottery) and more than enough love to fill it with seven children (all named after trees).
Told from the perspective of 9-year-old Sumac, the fifth child, the story describes this whirlwind family that lives green without a car, eats all-natural and thrives on individuality. Each child not only has a different racial background but also adds to the family through varying abilities, gifts and gender fluidity. Despite their seemingly chaotic lifestyle, the Lotterys value their rich family history.
The family’s fun-loving harmony is tested, however, when one dad’s father (a racist and homophobe, to boot) displays signs of dementia and moves in with the Lotterys. Even if their grandpa is more of a “Grumps,” can Sumac find it in herself—and help show the rest of the family—to find patience and love for one more?
Donoghue’s quirky family story is a winning combination.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read a Q&A with Emma Donoghue for The Lotterys Plus One.