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.

Review: This Is My Home, This Is My School by Jonathan Bean

This Is My Home This Is My School by Jonathan Bean

This Is My Home, This Is My School by Jonathan Bean (InfoSoup)

Based on his own experience being home-schooled as a child, Jonathan Bean shows the creative and structured chaos of a home schooling family. There are his siblings who are his classmates, his mother who is his teacher, and his father who comes in as a substitute teacher too. They have the playground of their yard and go on field trips to places like the library. Their art classes are outside and there are lots of other kids who join in those and phy ed too. Dinner is the place for show-and-tell and bedtime is an English class. It’s a busy day for everyone because home is school too.

I love the wild energy of this book, showing that homeschooling can be just as engaging and social as any other type of schooling, probably more so! The book is filled with a warmth built from the family itself and their cozy home. Home-schooled children will see themselves on the pages here, something that is very important. The book ends with family snapshots and an Author’s Note that also speak to the joy of being home-schooled.

Bean’s artwork adds to the zingy energy of the book. His loose lines don’t contain the watercolors, letting them wash freely and blend dynamically on the page. The pages are filled with loving detail from the crowded home filled with projects going on to the huge backyard.

A critical item for public libraries, this book will help support home-schooled children in communities and will show others what they are missing. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.