When a major storm forces Toronto’s creative Lottery clan to revise their plans for the winter solstice and succeeding holidays, Sumac misses familiar family traditions.
The ice storm transforms the Lotterys’ neighborhood into a glittering, dangerous fairyland while, flight canceled, PapaDum and Sic, oldest of the family’s four biological kids wait it out in India. Again, the third-person perspective is filtered through family record-keeper, traditionalist, and worrywart, Sumac, 9, oldest of the three adopted Lotterys. While caring for couch-surfing Brazilian visitor Luiz, sidelined after wiping out when sledding behind a car, the Lotterys assist neighbors afflicted by power outages and, losing power themselves, gratefully accept help. Everyone misses PapaDum, the family cook and handier of their two dads, though PopCorn tries to fill in. Stresses mount. Sumac’s enraged when her impromptu entry in icy Lake Ontario’s Polar Bear Plunge goes unrecorded. Amid setbacks and challenges, the Lotterys exercise their “muscles of surrender.” Brian, 4, ventures farther into gender reinvention; MaxiMum meditates with steely resolve; CardaMom comforts; and the harsh weather turns multiethnic and immigrant neighbors into friends. The Lottery kids, a series’ strength, are extra-engaging; their gay dads and lesbian moms, here softened by parental imperfections and quirks, continue to curate a tantalizingly wide-ranging home-school curriculum. In this celebration of Canada’s vibrant cultural diversity, French Canada’s culture and the country’s second official language are conspicuous in their almost total absence.
Funny, well-crafted, and mostly intersectionally inclusive. (Fiction. 8-12)