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Summary: Nate Wright isn't sure exactly what he'll succeed in, he just knows he will be "supremely great" and that it doesn't include knowing about the War of 1812 (or anything else that Ms. Godfrey calls on him for). Right now, the thing that best shows Nate's greatness is his ability to land in detention. It's not intentional, it just happens ... like success. This is a highly stylized and illustrated chapter book about life in middle school.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, middle grade reader, reluctant reader, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 and up
Interest Level: 8 to 12
Age of Child: Read by an 8-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: All summer long our rising third grader kept coming back to this one! It went to swim meets, was the reason we needed to stay up late, and became the source of lots of new one-liners.
Adult Reader Reaction: As a parent, I can't say this was my favorite book. Nate is pretty typical and the events are predictable. That said, it is clear that this is a great motivator for reading. There is plenty of "white space," lots of pratfalls, and the kind of stuff that keeps kids turning pages to see what happens next.
Pros: Boys and girls alike will laugh out loud at this cross between a chapter book and graphic novel. This is an exceptional choice for a dormant reader. Big Nate is also a comic strip that kids can read online to keep the story going.
Cons: The format isn't one conducive to 'sharing' a book.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a book that is fun to read - and the kids will probably pass it around - but it isn't one I'd keep to read with the grandkids.
Educational Themes: This is largely a book to be enjoyed, but it does offer kids a way to look at the rough patches of middle school with humor. It is also a good example of how to let pictures tell a story, too.
Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.
Literary Categories: Fiction - humor, cartoons, graphic novel, growing up
Date(s) Reviewed: August 2010
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