From Newbery Honor-- and National Book Award--winning author Polly Horvath comes another magical novel featuring a time machine, money, food and lots of family.
Ten-year-old Rupert Brown comes from an ordinary family. They live in a small house in the poorest section of Steelville, Ohio, and have little money or food. So when Rupert inadvertently finds himself spending Christmas at the house of Turgid River -- the richest boy in town -- he is blown away to discover a whole other world, including all the food he can eat and wonderful prizes that he wins when the family plays games, prizes he hopes to take home to his family so they can have Christmas presents for the very first time. But this windfall is short-lived when Rupert loses it all in one last game and goes home empty-handed. Each member of the Rivers family feels guilty about what happened and, unbeknownst to each other, tries to make it up to Rupert in their own unique way, taking him on one unlikely adventure after another.
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.