cover image Very Rich

Very Rich

Polly Horvath. Holiday House/Ferguson, $17.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4028-3

Trekking to school only to realize it’s Christmas Day, 10-year-old Rupert Brown, part of a large and impoverished family, finds himself in the “very rich” part of Steeleville, Ohio. After Rupert faints on the lawn of Turgid Rivers, “the richest boy at school,” he spends the day with the eccentric Rivers family as they indulge in extravagant meals and engage in a series of competitive games. His pile of prizes growing, Rupert fantasizes about bringing his winnings back to his family, only to have those hopes dashed as he loses it all. After Rupert’s loss and return to his routine of hunger and sibling hordes, members of the Rivers family seek him out to embark on adventures, including a secret restaurant takeover that leaves customers literally floating with happiness, a trip back in time, and a bungled jewel heist. Rupert’s hijinks with the various Rivers prove enlightening, imparting that, no matter one’s provenance, life is “a unique and glorious thing.” Packed with outrageous characters and moments of brilliant clarity, Horvath’s holiday romp touches on thankfulness and the importance of self-acceptance. Ages 8–12. [em](Sept.) [/em]