Very Rich

From Newbery Honor and National Book Award-winning author Polly Horvath, another quirky novel featuring a time travel adventure (among others).


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 Turgid Rivers' house–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 hope 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 one another tries to make it up to Rupert in their own unique way, taking him on one unlikely adventure after another.

Very Rich has been shortlisted for the 2019 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Awards.


  • Horvath is at her odd, arch best here—generous with her wry observations of people and their awkward relationships and foibles.  Kirkus Reviews

  • Very Rich is alternately delightful and dark and infused with subtle morals and messages.  It wouldn't be surprising if, like Wizard of Oz and Mary PoppinsVery Rich became a kidlit favourite, complete with a magical Technicolor big-screen adaptation. Quill and Quire Editor's Choice , Starred

  • Packed with outrageous characters and moments of brilliant clarity, Horvath's holiday romp touches on thankfulness and the importance of self-acceptance. Publishers Weekly

  • Wry and thought-provoking, hilarious and poignant . . . brainy, unusual, and entertaining. The Horn Book