Summary: Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field
Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field is Angela Ahn’s second middle grade novel. Her debut, Krista Kim-Bap is one of my favorites, and this did not disappoint either.
Peter, or Petey, as he’s affectionately called by his sister Charlotte aka L.B is obsessed with dinosaurs. He wants to be a paleontologist when he’s older and is constantly digging in the sandpit at his grandparents’ (Haji and Hammy) house. Peter also plays soccer and is super tall for an 11-year-old Korean boy. On and off the pitch, he’s constantly harassed by an obnoxious classmate, Ryan. Although Peter does a good job of standing up to Ryan, Ryan is quite annoying.
L.B. is a gifted child and is the typical, precocious annoying little sister. But she obviously loves Peter. In the summer, the family takes a trip to Drumheller for a dinosaur expedition, which ends up being a bust for Peter. To cap it off, his Hammy is forgetful and seems dazed from time to time. Then he discovers that his parents are planning to send Hammy to a care facility. Can Peter fix the situation?
I really liked this book! Peter is an earnest, likable protagonist — although I have to say: L.B. stole the show for me. I would totally read a book about her. Peter has asthma, and I loved the asthma rep and the way the author explores his balancing asthma with his paleontologist dreams. Peter is also a talented artist and I loved reading his entries and even seeing some of his drawings illustrated by Julie Kwon.
At the heart of this story, much like Ahn’s debut, is family. Hammy is showing early signs of dementia, like the grandmother in The Memory Keeper. The family is trying to find the best way to handle things while managing the kids’ emotions.
Peter’s parents also push their kids a fair amount. Their mother only wants L.B. to participate in “enriching” activities, not play. And their father keeps making the kids do math problems while on vacation. I loved reading the way the author handles all of this realistically and sensitively.
Finally, sports, Korean culture and a fun road trip are other unmissable parts of this story. Peter is the soccer goalie and eventually plays basketball. One kid in Peter’s school plans to return to Korea to become a K-pop star. Ahn always enriches her books with elements of Korean culture and shows that there are different ways to be Korean-Canadian.
I have zero interest in paleontology, so I did get bored during the expedition parts, but that’s a me problem.
Overall: Peter Lee’s Notes From the Field
Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field is a sweet, adventurous middle grade novel set in Canada. This book features a Korean-Canadian boy with asthma and a love for fossil digging. With a delightful genius little sister, heartwarming grandparent relationships, and a dash of Korean culture, this book is perfect for lovers of family-centered stories.
Buy This Book
More Book Reviews
- Krista Kim-Bap by Angela Ahn
- The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang
- The Comeback by E.L. Shen
Have you read this book or anything by Angela Ahn? What do you think? What are your favorite middle grade books with a protagonist who has asthma? I don’t see it as much as I’d like.