‘The Lotterys Plus One,’ by Emma Donoghue, illustrations by Caroline Hadilaksono.

Introducing the first in a new series of children’s books about the diverse Lottery family, from the highly acclaimed author, Emma Donoghue.


This heart of this book is nine-year-old bookworm, Sumac, who is struggling to come to terms with her grandfather (Grumps) coming to live with her family after being diagnosed with dementia.

The Lotterys changed their surname after a massive lottery win and purchased a 32-roomed mansion they called Camelottery. The diverse family of four co-parents (PapaDum, PapaCorn, MaxiMum and CardaMom) and their seven children live a spontaneous and (to some) riotous existence.

When a house fire means that PopCorn’s somewhat estranged father has to come and live with them, Sumac is less than impressed. Not does she have to give up her beautiful sky-blue bedroom, but Grumps (as the family christen him) is mean, mean, mean!

Sumac struggles to adapt and starts plotting to have Grumps put into a care home. She soon learns, however, that families have to stick together  – no matter how disagreeable that can be at times.

Although I initially found it hard to  get into this story, I’m glad I persevered.  Sumac as narrator lends real heart and truth to events as she sees them and struggles to adapt to their newest family member.   There are also lots of bookish references which I enjoyed spotting.

It was great to see a children’s book which really celebrated diverse home-educated families and ‘alternative’ lifestyles.  Although things are improving, families do tend to be rather traditional in children’s books.

A great, big whirlwind of a hug, of a book!

Library Girl.

*Thank you to Macmillan for sending me this book to review*


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