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“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”
Summary: Life hasn't changed much for sixth grader Nate Wright. He's still in Mrs. Godfrey's class, he's still Randy the bully's favorite target, and the thought of Gina sends him over the edge. With Nate it's hard to tell what's worse: being paired with Gina for a project, having his fleeceball team named Kuddle Kittens, or constantly ducking Randy. One thing is cool though: all the stuff he's learning about Ben Franklin! This is a cross between an illustrated chapter book and a graphic novel.
Type of Reading: family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, reluctant reader, middle grade reader
Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 10; read yourself: 9 and up
Interest Level: 8 and up
Age of Child: Read by a 9-year-old girl.
Young Reader Reaction: The second she saw another Big Nate book, my daughter started devouring it. It was gone in an afternoon ... and re-read the next day. Her favorite thing is to read something, laugh, and then come show us what she's laughing about.
Adult Reader Reaction: I can't say that Nate is my favorite character - too much getting-out-of-school-work attempts for my taste. Still, there are humorous elements and the book is styled to keep kids turning pages. Nate does get wrapped up in his Ben Franklin project ... a little light in that tunnel! The illustrations keep the story going and the actual text-heaviness of the page is lost on the kids.
Pros: A humorous, mischievous boy, pranks, and plenty of action combine in a story bound to tempt even the most reluctant reader.
Cons: Why do books for boys always have to suggest that school is awful?
Educational Themes: Nate's interest in reading more about Ben Franklin is a great example to readers that they need to find something that interests them. You could parse this story into several themes (not the least of which is bullying), but it's really meant for pleasure reading.
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, series book
Date(s) Reviewed: November 2010
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