We’re having a surprise at dinner tonight… but what could it BE? A joyful slice of family life all about what it really means to be lucky.When Mum announces that we’re having a surprise at dinner tonight, my brother Leo and I can’t help but wonder…What could it BE?Mum says we’ll have to wait and see, but Leo and I have some ideas of our own…The award-winning creator of the Roald Dahl shortlisted Marchall Armstrong is New to Our School delivers a tasty and touching slice of family life, in a story all about the ...
We’re having a surprise at dinner tonight… but what could it BE? A joyful slice of family life all about what it really means to be lucky.When Mum announces that we’re having a surprise at dinner tonight, my brother Leo and I can’t help but wonder…What could it BE?Mum says we’ll have to wait and see, but Leo and I have some ideas of our own…The award-winning creator of the Roald Dahl shortlisted Marchall Armstrong is New to Our School delivers a tasty and touching slice of family life, in a story all about the benefits of brothers, and what it really means to be lucky…
…the unnamed boy protagonist in David Mackintosh's Lucky, lives in a postmodern [world]. Text is used as a design element—stacked, layered, squeezed, slanted. The large-headed, spindly-legged children proceed through a landscape of sketches, photographs, postcards, blocks of color and collage, with enough logic and white space to keep things from feeling too frantic. Lucky achieves a synchronicity between text and illustration that rarely occurs unless both are created by the same person.
Mom announces there’ll be a surprise at dinner, and the narrator and his brother, Leo, eventually decide it can mean only one thing: their family has won a trip to “Hawaii for two weeks: all expenses paid!” The brothers set the school grapevine buzzing and even inspire the principal to give everyone 10 minutes of free time because “this is the first time in history that anyone from our school has ever won a vacation.” Then Mom enthusiastically reveals, as only mothers can, that the big surprise is... takeout pizza. Crushed and embarrassed, the narrator slowly realizes that he’s in a pretty lucky family after all—a revelation handled with the subtlety and sweetness that’s become Mackintosh’s signature. As befits a story about magical thinking, Mackintosh (Standing in for Lincoln Green) amplifies his sketchbook-style drawings with a visually extravagant mélange of comic book framings, exaggerated typography that sometimes tips a hat to concrete poetry, and collage (which includes kitschy Hawaiiana to accompany Leo’s rhapsodic tribute to island life). It’s a story that leaves its readers feeling fortunate as well. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
"It's a story that leaves its readers feeling fortunate as well."
- Kara Dean
"At turns exuberant, sweet, and humorous, this is a delightful surprise."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Kids will get a 'there but for the grace of God go I' kick out of the imaginations run amuck, and adults will be reminded of the perils of sparking unlimited expectations."
- Heather Christensen
Before they leave for school, a mother tells her two sons that there will be a surprise at dinner. Inspired by their surroundings as they walk to school, the young narrator and his brother Leo try to guess the surprise. After ruling out a new bike, a swimming pool, or another bedroom (so they do not have to share), the two decide it MUST be a vacation to Hawaii, which their parents won from a radio contest. The fact that they do not actually know what the surprise is does not keep them from sharing the good news with their friends and fellow classmates, so the discovery that the surprise is a bit more mundane—pizza for dinner, to be exact—is a bit of a letdown, to say the least. The mixed media illustrations give the feeling of a broad landscape that feeds the boys’ imagination—endless parked cars that inspire the idea of a new car, a layered fountain that suggests a swimming pool, or a travel brochure from Hawaii that leads to the erroneous conclusion. The design also gives the book a creative, freethinking feel, with larger fonts indicating different ideas and smaller fonts for asides or letdowns, all scattered around the page. Pair this with Fucile’s Let’s Do Nothing! for a creative and silly story time focusing on imagination. Reviewer: Heather Christensen; Ages 5 to 8.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2—Two brothers jump to conclusions when their mother announces that they will have a surprise at dinner. Could it be a new bike? Tickets to a show? A swimming pool in their yard or an elevator for their high-rise building? Or maybe it's a two-week vacation in Hawaii that their parents won in a contest. Convinced that it's the latter, they tell everyone at school, and the principal rewards their good fortune by giving all the students 10 minutes of free time. Rushing home after school, the narrator is deflated when Mom tells him that the surprise is pizza for dinner. But with a little creativity, plus a pineapple and coconuts, the family enjoys a make-believe Hawaiian meal.Mackintosh's animated cartoon illustrations are rendered in pencil, ink, and watercolor, with some mixed-media collage. The offbeat pictures illustrate the boys' wild imaginings with a mishmash of crazy angles, detailed scribbles, and bizarre inserts that children will want to examine up close. Lettering in various sizes and placements adds a quirky dimension and kinetic energy to the story. Fans of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith's frenetic books will appreciate this entertaining tale.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
Two boys get carried away when their mom tells them they will have a surprise at dinner. Little brother Leo thinks it's curly fries, but the young narrator starts thinking…and that's how they get into trouble! They brainstorm a list of ever bigger and better possibilities (a bike! a new car! a swimming pool!), and finally, with visions of grass skirts and volcanoes in their heads, they conclude it must be an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii. Both voice and reasoning are hysterically, authentically childlike. Dynamic, rapid-fire collage-and-pencil illustrations capture the zany escalation. The text increases in size, replicating their ever bolder assertions. Excited, they tell everyone at school, where even the staff celebrates by giving the students an extra 10-minute break. But when they get home, the siblings discover a very different surprise awaits them, leaving the narrator feeling rather sick until contagiously enthusiastic Leo cheers him up. How lucky can a kid get? This is a quirky, spot-on snapshot of family life, perfect for family sharing and repeated readings. And children will love examining the whimsical, surprisingly delightful details in the drawings. A winner. (Picture book. 4-8)
David Mackintosh is an Australian designer, art director and illustrator. As a designer he has worked with some of the biggest names in children's publishing and also in publishing, theatre, TV production and advertising. David’s first book Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School was shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and his second, The Frank Show, was on FT.com list of Best Books 2012. David lives in London, loves books with pictures in them, flying, visiting cities and being read to.