Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field

Tundra. Mar. 2021. 312p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780735268241.
Gr 4-6–Peter Lee has one dream in life, to become a paleontologist, and this summer he will finally have a chance to experience a real dinosaur dig. But when Peter’s passion is not enough to create success in the field, he finds himself adrift amid a changing landscape in his family, friendships, and his own goals. Who is he if he’s not enraptured with dinosaurs? Why does Hammy, his grandmother, seem so unlike herself at times? Told in short, journal-like entries and interspersed with glorious sketches, this is a relatable, rambling, realistic account of six months of Peter’s life. A transition from childhood obsession to evolving preteen interests, a vibrant sibling relationship, deep multigenerational ties, a celebration of Korean Canadian culture, and a sweet ending are the strong points in these field notes. However, at times Peter’s overbearing parents and the bully from school feel stereotypical and static even as Peter’s relationship with his grandparents grows and changes.
VERDICT A sweet coming-of-age story packed with dinosaurs, sibling drama, and Korean culture, this is a solid choice for larger collections.

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