home | school | life

Readaloud of the Week: The Lotterys Plus One

Reading Listamy sharonyComment
The Lotterys Plus One
By Emma Donoghue

In brief: The Lotterys are not your typical family: When two gay couples (who also happen to be best buds) win the lottery, they change their last names to Lottery, buy a huge house they call Camelottery, and raise a big family of seven adopted and biological kids there in a little urban oasis of sustainability, homeschooling, and community service. When one of their grandfathers comes to live with them because of health issues, he’s decidedly put off by the Lotterys’ unconventional lifestyle, and the Lotterys test the limits of their family’s tolerance to find a place for this intolerant member.

 

What makes it a great readaloud: This is a classic family story with a modern cast of characters—it’s great to see so much diversity in a children’s book and to see a kids’ book tackle a question that feels really relevant these days: How can families with totally different values find common ground? It’s a little like All-Of-a-Kind Family or Cheaper by the Dozen recast for the modern world—lots of kids having all kinds of adventures and experiences and always returning to their warm, supportive home.

 

But be aware: The wordplay can get a little twee—they call their back porch the Derriere, and that’s just for starters—and some readers felt like there was almost too much diversity among the characters so that it ended up feeling a little forced. (Also, I’m not clear on why the characters continue to use other-gender pronouns for their trans child/sibling, even though they’re very accepting of his identity otherwise.)