Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field by Angela Ahn (illustrated by Juli Kwon)
Published: It releases tomorrow! March 2nd, 2021 by Tundra Books
Genre: Contemporary MG
Page Count: Goodreads says 224
Part of a series? Standalone, I believe.
Got via: Blog tour, obviously, lol.
Summary (from goodreads): Eleven year-old Peter Lee has one goal in life: to become a paleontologist. Okay, maybe two: to get his genius kid-sister, L. B., to leave him alone. But his summer falls apart when his real-life dinosaur expedition turns out to be a bust, and he watches his dreams go up in a cloud of asthma-inducing dust.
Even worse, his grandmother, Hammy, is sick, and no one will talk to Peter or L. B. about it. Perhaps his days as a scientist aren’t quite behind him yet. Armed with notebooks and pens, Peter puts his observation and experimental skills to the test to see what he can do for Hammy. If only he can get his sister to be quiet for once—he needs time to sketch out a plan.
Review: This is really cute! First of all, dinosaurs are just fun. I know a bunch of kids who would really like this. This is also a really easy book to read – in the best way – with shorter chapters and a quicker pace. Those factors combined with really fun illustrations and a high appeal concept means I think this would be amazing especially for both younger children looking for a reading challenge, and more selective readers looking for something that would really get their attention.
I really liked the family in this, as well. Peter and LB’s parents are pretty strict and very education focused, and Peter doesn’t always enjoy that but he loves his parents and understand they want the best for him. They aren’t seen as perfect – sometimes it’s pointed out they need to remember to let the kids be kids – but the book really treats them as human beings who are doing their best. LB and Peter’s relationship is also cute – she is a little sister still, and can be annoying at times, but he worries about her and she clearly really admires him and supports his hobbies and interests. It’s really sweet.
And I like the grandparents a lot. The main focus of the book really is family.
I’m going to go into a bit of spoiler territory so feel free to skip to the next paragraph, but I think it’s important to mention this as it’s about the message the book sends to its young audience. So, Peter’s gradmother is possibly in the early stages of dementia, and struggling with memory issues. They talk about how eventually she may need to go live in a nursing home if her care needs become too much for the family to handle, but they also realize that for now, there are things they can do to help her at this stage. It’s both open to the idea that someone’s needs may change in the future, and them needing more help than you can provide isn’t a bad thing, but also that there ARE sometimes things you can do to help someone be safe and comfortable and to make their environment suit their needs. I thought it was a very balanced representation that you can’t make someone’s disability go away just by caring about them, but an environment adapted to their needs can definitely improve their quality of life. I liked it a lot.
Also can I just say. The idea of going to a museum and going to dig for fossils sounds AMAZING and I’m sad that it’s not a real thing. I don’t care if I’m almost thirty. I would be right there next to the children with my tiny hammer and chisel. That sounds like a blast.
Overall, this is a really fun book. I think it’s a great summer book – road trip books are always fun – and dinosaurs are always a fun theme. It also doesn’t lack in the heartwarming department, and handles a pretty difficult subject matter very delicately and thoughtfully, being realistic without scaremongering. I think kids are gonna love this one, and I think it’d be a great addition to classroom libraries as well. Big recommend.
Representation: Peter is a self-identified Canadian-born Korean. He is also asthmatic. It’s pretty good asthma repesentation as well – it’s mostly well controlled, but he struggles with it sometimes, and another character with asthma helps him to think about triggers and how to deal with it more actively.
Content notes: Peter has asthma and he has a pretty bad attack during the book, and doesn’t have his inhaler on him. He and his family exprience microaggressions, like a ticket seller assuming they don’t speak English just by looking at them. His grandmother is also beginning to deal with memory issues, possibly dementia.
- – There’s like a fair in the book and Peter gets a Hurricane Potato and I’ve had one of those and agree they are delicious.
- Thank again to Hear Our Voices for including me in this blog tour! Be sure to check out the other tour stops!
Peace and cookies,