Friday, June 26, 2020

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

McCullough, Joy. A Field Guide to Getting Lost
April 14th 2020 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Sutton lives with her father in an apartment in Seattle. She is homeschooled, loves robotics, and is happy with her neighbors and her life. She's not happy that her mother is living at the South Pole, and decides not to come to celebrate Sutton's tenth birthday because the emperor penguins she is studying have changed their habits. Luis lives with his mother, his Guatemalan father having died of cancer when he was two. He loves to write stories about brave children, since his mother is overly protective because he has life threatening allergies to lots of things, including bees and peanuts. Sutton's father and Luis' mother are dating, and have reached the point where they want to have a "family date" to introduce the children. They go to an art museum that Luis likes, but is outside Sutton's comfort zone. (Sutton isn't labeled but seems to be on the autism spectrum.) Her father is not happy that she couldn't make an effort, but Sutton is obsessed with getting the coding on her robot finished for a science fair, and she's not wild about her father dating. Also, she feels like she DID make an effort to the best of her ability. When another family date is attempted, this time to a park, Sutton and Luis get separated from the parents, have an adventure, and bond a bit more.
Strengths: I loved the depiction of characters who love coding and who have life threatening allergies. There are very few books about kids who need EpiPens, which is a real lack. The fear about parents dating, and missing the absent parents, is done well. The real triumph of this book is the use of the city as almost another character. This was a fun book to read, and the faux-canvas texture on the cover made me ridiculously happy.
Weaknesses: Sutton is nine and about to turn ten, and the adventure in the park was fairly tame. The cover makes it look like they are critically lost.
What I really think: I would definitely buy this for an elementary school, and enjoyed reading it, but think it is too young for my students. There is a lot of imaginative play that seems childish to middle school readers, although this might work for fans of Bridge to Terebithia. (But without the sadness. I am not a fan.)

Ms. Yingling

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