Title: A Place for Peter
Author: Elizabeth Yates
Major Themes: 20th century, United States, Christian Historical Fiction, Farm Life, Sheep, Dogs, Children’s Fiction
Synopsis: Peter must earn his father’s trust, and he learns through that that doing the hard things is worth it in the end.
A Place for Peter, the sequel to Mountain Born, is just as good as the first book. I remember this book being read to me way back as well, and I hope one day I’ll be able to read both of them to my children. They’re wonderful. When we lived in the United States—before moving to New Zealand—I had a very vague idea what it was like to have huge flocks of sheep or live in a place that was steep and rugged instead of smooth with rolling hills. A Place for Peter captures that kind of rough beauty, and much more—and it gave me then just a little glimpse of what life could be like in such conditions.
Peter’s older now, and when Martha, his mother, is called away unexpectedly, will he, his father, and Benj—now even older—manage?
“Try to understand your father, Peter.” …
“I wish he would trust me with something big.”
“He will, when you are worthy.”
With his mother away, Peter is learning to be a man. He learns he can do things he never thought possible. When the sugaring must be done, he does it—although it involves much time, hard work, and loneliness. As time goes on and Martha must stay longer and longer, Peter begins to see what it takes to do a man’s share of the work. And when the time comes that Peter decides the path between their farm and the neighbors must be cleared, he goes at it with all he has—but can he get through the dangerous bushes and the dens of rattlers safely?
A Place for Peter is both exciting and well-written. It is a beautiful retelling of farm life a hundred years ago, when everything was done by hand. Through Peter, we also learn who a real man is, and how hard it is sometimes to be strong in the face of danger and grief. I loved this story, and I know your children will, too. Children aged 5 – 13 will love it, whether as a reader or as a read-aloud.
WARNING: There are several instances of death in this story; once, when a puppy is born dead (chapter 3), another time a chicken dies (chapter 6), a boy gets bitten by a rattlesnake in chapter 8, near the end (slightly graphic), and later on they kill some rattlesnakes (chapter 10). All instances are handled with respect and discretion.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12