The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue

The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue (9780545925815)

Released March 28, 2017.

Sumac lives in a very unusual family in a very large house called the Camelottery. Her family is large, very large, with four parents, a baby, several teenagers, even more children and lots of pets. The four parents are really two couples who are all best friends with one another. All of the children are home schooled and there is always something happening around the busy house. Then something changes, and one of Sumac’s grandfathers moves in with them. He’s not used to the wildness of children, the busyness of the large household and his struggle with dementia isn’t helping. Sumac is appointed as the one to help him better understand their family, but after he makes several comments about the color of their skins and the way they live, Sumac decides that it is up to her to find a different place for her grandfather to live where he will be happier and they will be rid of him. It’s really the perfect solution, isn’t it?

Oh how I adored this novel. The creation of a household where the parents won the lottery and no longer have to work but just care for their ever-growing household and volunteer for causes they believe in is lovely. Make it a family with parents who are gay and lesbian and the book becomes something very special. Add in the character of Brian who at age five is just starting to voice his preferred gender. Then mix in even more diversity with adopted children and biological ones all loving and living together.

Donoghue doesn’t just get the mix of characters right, she then gives them all voices that are so honest and true that they live on the page. The fast-paced conversations of the large family around the dinner table are immensely joyful even as they are sometimes strained. The patter of the conversations all have a natural rhythm and flow, something that is very difficult to get this right. And my goodness, it is exactly right.

A grand new LGBT-friendly book that families will love sharing together no matter how many mothers, fathers or children they have. Appropriate for ages 8-11.

Reviewed from ARC received from Arthur A. Levine Books.

This Week’s Tweets, Pins and Tumbls

Here are some cool links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week:

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

11-Year-Old Starts Club For Young Black Boys To See Themselves In Books via

25 Gentle Chapter Books to Read Aloud to Kids via

Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of best-selling children’s books, touching farewell essay, dies at 51

Ava DuVernay Gives a Behind-the-Scenes Look at A WRINKLE IN TIME | Nerdist

First Nations University project brings Cree children’s books to Sask.

Locus Online Perspectives » Jane Yolen: Accidental Novelist

Peppa Pig pulled: China cracks down on foreign children’s books

Popular and Traditional Scandinavian Folktales for Kids via

Top Ten Historical Fiction Titles to Encourage a Diverse Understanding of the Past via

You’re not imagining it — Waldo has gotten smaller

EBOOKS

Ebook sales continue to fall as younger generations drive appetite for print: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2017/mar/14/ebook-sales-continue-to-fall-nielsen-survey-uk-book-sales?CMP=share_btn_tw

LIBRARIES

As a Girl She Spent Time in the Library. Now She’s Giving It $20 Million.

Curved wooden nooks make private reading pockets in Shanghai children’s library

Human Library Event A Reminder Not To Judge Others ‘By Their Covers’

TEEN LIT

How I Feel Reading The LGBTQ+ Young Adult Novels I Didn’t Have As A Teen

Jennifer Aniston to Star in Adaptation of YA Novel ‘Dumplin’ –

‘Mean Girls’ Is Getting Turned Into a NOVEL

Young Adult Novels That Teach a Growth Mindset via

The Road Home by Katie Cotton

The Road Home by Katie Cotton

The Road Home by Katie Cotton, illustrated by Sarah Jacoby (9781419723742)

A variety of animals travel on their way home. Birds fly to warmer places, escaping the chill of winter. Mice build nests in the grass that offer safety and warmth. Wolves hunt for food to fill their hunger. Rabbits hide in the brambles, chased clear by the wolves on their heels. They reach their burrow and safety. The next day, the wolves and rabbits are outside again along with the birds and the mice. All sharing a larger home with one another.

Cotton’s poem is delicious. From the initial rhyming stanzas on the first page, she builds a full story of the importance of home and the strength of parent/child pairs in survival. Throughout the poem there is a sense of arrival or approaching home, defined in different ways for the different species. There is also a focus on security and warmth, on being together despite the odds and filling small burrows and nests with love.

Jacoby’s illustrations embrace the natural setting. They keep readers from realizing that all of the animals are in the same area by using a different feel for their habitats. The mice are in golden nests of straw, the birds soar in the sky, the wolves hunt through a forest and the rabbits are close by. Then the final reveal of them together is like the sun returning, a beautiful reveal.

Gorgeous poetry combines with strong illustrations to create a celebration of home no matter what species you may be. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

Tony by Ed Galing

Tony by Ed Galing

Tony by Ed Galing, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (9781626723085)

Tony was a big white horse who pulled the milk wagon for Tom every morning. Tony pulled the wagon full of eggs, butter and milk. When Tom stopped to make a delivery,  Tony would wait patiently. One child, the narrator, would go outside and greet Tony every morning when they pulled up, giving Tony a hug and a pat. Tom greeted the child too, saying that Tony looked forward every morning to the greeting. Then they went on with their route, and Tony had a little dance in his step in farewell.

This poem by the late Galing makes a wonderful picture book filled with spare language and power. The book walks forward with the solidity of a large horse, the delicacy of breakable eggs, and the spirit of dancing footsteps. It is entirely lovely, creating a sliver of time where horses were used for deliveries and children could greet them eagerly if they were willing to wake early enough.

Stead’s illustrations are exceptionally lovely. Her fine lines bring memories to life. The dreamy nature of the illustrations help us look back in time. She floods some pages with a bright yellow light, welcoming and warm. Others echo the mist of early morning and the quietness.

A lovely poetic picture book that slows you down to another time and place. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.

 

 

 

 

Creekfinding by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Creekfinding by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Creekfinding: A True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Claudia McGehee (9780816698028)

This picture book tells the true story of a lost creek that used to cross a prairie meadow. Then a farmer bulldozed dirt into the creek to create more farm land. Years later, another man purchased the field and heard from a neighbor about the creek that used to be there. He decided to try to find that creek. So he dug a creek bottom after consulting historic photographs of the land. He hoped that the water would return and it did. But a creek is more than running water and now it was up to him to bring more rocks, more plants and eventually trout in his newly rediscovered creek.

This book focuses on a compelling topic. That the land we live and farm on once used to be very different from the way it is now and that we can work to return it to its more natural state. The picture book has wonder at its center, the amazing notion that water once buried will return to a dry creek bed. It also focuses on the hard work that it took and the incredible problem solving that went into rebuilding the creek from literally the bottom up. Slowly it become reality with lots of work and patience.

The illustrations by McGehee are based directly on her visit to the land the book is about. Done on scratchboard, the illustrations have a wonderful weight to them, capturing the deep greens of the prairie, the richness of the biodiversity, and the transformation of the land.

A fascinating topic that is just right for environmental units or Earth Day, this picture book is a celebration of nature and man working together. Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from library copy.

 

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (9780062498533)

This teen novel has more buzz than any I’ve ever seen. Happily, it is all entirely justified and I’ll join the crowd in singing its praises and looking forward to the upcoming film!

Starr is sixteen and witnessed a friend killed in a drive-by shooting when she was a child. Now she finds herself witnessing another killing, this time another friend who is shot in the back by a police officer during a traffic stop. Starr already lives in two worlds, the poor neighborhood where her family lives and her father has a store and the private prep school she attends in the suburbs. Now she must walk an ever more razorsharp edge, figuring out the dangers of the truth and the equally harsh dangers of staying silent.

Thomas takes on racism in modern America head on and without flinching. She paints a picture of poor African-American communities that looks beyond the poverty into the heart of the community itself. Still, this is not a picket fence world but one that is complex, riddled with gang activity, but still has a heart and a culture that sings. Thomas also shows the choices that African Americans must make in staying in a crime-filled community to help or moving away for safety of their children. It is not simple, nothing in this novel is, thank goodness.

The characters are incredibly rich and complicated as well. Starr is a wonderful heroine, grappling with grief, the situation of being a witness, and the knowledge that even telling the truth may not make a difference. She is wise, young, hopeful and jaded all at once. She is a face for what is happening in this country and a way that white teens can understand the issues and black teens can see themselves portrayed beautifully in a novel.

I must also mention the incredible African-American fathers shown in the book. Yes, there are men who are awful here too. But Maverick is a complicated father with high expectations for his children who cheated on Starr’s mother and also did jail time for his gang activity. That doesn’t mean he isn’t there for his family or loves them any less. Again, it’s complicated. Add to that Uncle Carlos who is a police officer and who stepped in to help raise Starr when Maverick was in jail. He is a crucial character to the story, and also a critical figure in Starr’s upbringing and her strength.

This debut novel is breathtakingly honest, searingly angry and exactly what we need right now. I can’t wait to see what this author does next! Appropriate for ages 14-18.

Reviewed from library copy.

Laundry Day by Jessixa Bagley

Laundry Day by Jessixa Bagley

Laundry Day by Jessixa Bagley (9781626723177)

Tic and Tac are brothers and are horribly bored. Ma Badger tries to get them to read books or build a fort or fish. Finally, she asks if they’d like to help hang laundry. The two of them merrily agree since they have never tried doing that yet. The two help their mother and do so well that she leaves them working and heads to the market. Soon the two little badgers have finished hanging the laundry and find even more clothes to hang. They gather more rope and more items from the house, hanging them all on the line! Luckily, their mother knows exactly what else needs to be clipped to the line.

Bagley, the author of Boats for Papa, has created a delightful mischievous picture book. The two little badgers are naughty in the best possible way, carrying the game as far as possible before their mother discovers what they are up to. Children will love to see the household items hanging on the lines and wonder what is coming next. The ending is entirely satisfying as well.

The art is bright and colorful. The final reveal of the clothes lines and all of the objects is amazing. There are plenty of details in the illustrations to linger over and enjoy. The bright colors add to the playful feel of the entire book.

Not just for naughty children, though they will laugh the loudest! Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Roaring Brook Press.