Review Detail

Big Nate is Great!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
This is a combination of two Big Nate novels; Big Nate on a Roll and Big Nate Goes For Broke. These notebook novels are carefully crafted around the plot, so I'll give a synopsis of each one.

Nate often uses his skateboard to get from one place to another more quickly, and when he is trying to get from yet another detention to his Timber Scouts meeting, he has a typical Nate run in with a lady and her poodle (who looks like "somebody glued cotton balls to a weasel"!), and his skateboard shoots away from him, off a bridge and into a creek. He's late for his scout meeting, so he has to start over to make 26 meetings in a row in order to earn his badge. (Of course, this was meeting 25!) He not only finds out that Artur is now part of the group, but that there is a fund raising campaign of selling "warm fuzzy" posters. Nate is ready to ignore this until he finds out that the top prize is a customized skateboard. He's determined to win it, even selling five units, only to find out that Artur has sold twenty. Artur sets up a booth at a school event, and is so cute that Nate feels no one can turn him down. Nate comes up with the idea to earn money doing other chores, which he is better at, and using the money to buy a quantity of posters himself. This isn't as easy as he thinks it will be, but he is dedicated to the idea of a new skateboard. When the final tally comes in, he and Artur are tied. Who will win the toss of a coin?

In Big Nate Goes for Broke (probably my favorite book of the series), Nate is determined to put together a cartooning club, asking Mr. Rosa, the art teacher, for help. Mr. Rosa is glad to, even bringing a teacher from the rival Jefferson Middle School to share her success with a cartooning group at that school. Both teachers remark that there are no girls in the group, and challenge the boys to find some female members. In trying to recruit DeeDee, Nate inadvertently asks her to the school dance, for which she has drawn the posters. He is afraid that this will go poorly, but DeeDee not only tells people they are there as friends, but saves the day with a cool grass skirt costume for Nate when someone steals his clothes. There's still a disaster-- the sprinkler system malfunctions, and the school has to be evacuated out into the cold, snowy winter. Not only that, but P.S. 38 needs some repairs, and the students are sent to have classes in trailers... at Jefferson Middle School. Nate is determined to prove P.S. 38's superiority, and he and DeeDee have some success entering a local writing contest, but their biggest success is in a snow sculpting contest, where the Bobcats' creative spirit wins the day.
Good Points
Big Nate is hugely popular with my students, and upon rereading both of these stories, I can tell why. Of course, the comic strip format, combined with text, is a great combination, and we even get a lot of NATE'S comic alongside the narrative, which is fun. This format makes the books quick, fun reads.

My favorite part of these is the characters. Nate misguided enthusiasm is so typical of middle school students that it makes me laugh and cringe! He always has a good idea, but his attempts at carrying them out sometimes are less than perfect. Artur is his nemesis, especially since he's going out with Nate's crush, Jenny, but Artur is so perfect and kind that it's hard to hate him. DeeDee is overly dramatic, but also a big help to Nate when he is in a pinch, and it's good to see them be friends. I also love the teachers-- secretary and romance novel reading detention monitor Ms. Czerwicki; former Timber Scout and boring science teacher, Mr. Galvin; and the ever evil Ms. Godfrey, who always keeps Nate under control. My only regret is that School Picture Guy doesn't make an appearance in either of these!

While elementary school readers pick these up because of the cartoons, the relationships portrayed are spot on with what middle school students experience. There's some light romance, awkward friendships, fellow students who pose mild danger, and that well meaning kid that it's just kind of embarrassing to be friends with, Chad. Nate is embarrassed by his father, annoyed by his sister, and has an unlikely ally in the dysfunctional neighbor dog, Spitsy. All of these elements, combined with the pictures, make reading Peirce's books a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Since these books are quick reads, having two volumes combined makes perfect sense. Check out all eight novels for readers who enjoy Richards' Stu Truly, Acampora's Rachel Spinelli Punched Me in the Face, and other funny, fast paced middle grade fiction.
Report this review Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

Comments

Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

You Are Fantastic!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Hello!Lucky, the creators of My Mom Is Magical! and...
Early One Morning
 
3.5
 
0.0 (0)
Join a little boy searching the farm for his breakfast...
Little Sap: The Magical Story of a Little Forest Family
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
A little tree, guided by her family circle and forest...
The Little Things: A Story about Acts of Kindness
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
One girl’s simple act of kindness causes ripples in her...
The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison, #2)
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
In this sequel to The Kinder Poison—which People magazine proclaimed...
The City Beautiful
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Death lurks around every corner in this unforgettable Jewish historical...
The Shape of Thunder
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a...
Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A lyrical and heartfelt collection by an award-winning writer that...
The Republic of Birds
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A young witch must save her sister from evil birds...
Fearless
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Better Nate than Ever meets Love Sugar Magic in this...
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"It was a test, you fool,” she sneered, “to see...
Ducks on the Road: A Counting Adventure
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From Caldecott Honor artist Anita Lobel comes a touching and...
Sloth and Smell the Roses
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A playful board book about the pillars of mindfulness from...
Curious About Insects
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for the littlest bug buffs, this board book offers...
The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious, #4)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell...
Simone Breaks All the Rules
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of You Should See Me in...

Latest Member Reviews

The Nature of Witches
 
5.0
"THE NATURE OF WITCHES is a riveting YA fantasy read. Taking place in the Eastern school for witches in the..."
Spells Trouble (Sisters of Salem, #1)
 
4.3
"SPELLS TROUBLE is a thrilling YA fantasy that takes the reader from Salem during the witch trials to the midwest..."
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
 
5.0
"Eva Evergreen is a young witch about to embark on her Novice Quest. As the daughter of one of the..."
A Curse of Ash & Embers (The Blackbone Witches, #1)
 
3.7
"A CURSE OF ASH AND EMBERS is an intriguing, character-driven YA fantasy read. Elodie has received a letter of employment..."
The Bitterwine Oath
 
3.3
"THE BITTERWINE OATH is a YA fantasy and light horror read. Nat is the descendent of the girl who put..."
Room on the Broom Push-Pull-Slide
 
5.0
"ROOM ON THE BROOM PUSH-PULL-SLIDE is a delightfully interactive board book sure to enchant toddlers and preschoolers. A witch is..."
Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft
 
4.3
"WHAT I LOVED: The two stories that tie for the best of the anthology are Tess Sharpe’s “The Heart..."
Path of Night (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #3)
 
5.0
"PATH OF NIGHT is another great installment of the books based on the Netflix show, CHILLING ADVENTURES OF SABRINA. This..."
The Bitterwine Oath
 
3.3
"San Solano, Texas is not only known for its Southern charm but also gruesome murders that took place fifty..."
Daughter of Chaos (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, #2)
 
5.0
"DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is another delightful spin-off book from the Netflix version of Sabrina. This one takes place between Parts..."
The Babysitters Coven
 
3.3
"What worked: This is a quirky, humorous at times paranormal novel where a babysitter's club is really a code name..."
Dugout: The Zombie Steals Home
 
4.0
"Gina and Stacy are twins who play for rival baseball teams. This flows off the field into intense and sometimes..."
Have You Seen My Blankie?
 
5.0
"Take a magical journey with Princess Alice in this delightful picture book. HAVE YOU SEEN MY BLANKIE? tells the story..."
The Rubicus Prophecy (The Witches of Orkney, #2)
 
3.5
"THE RUBICUS PROPHECY is an engaging second book in the WITCHES OF ORKNEY series that follows the same friends on..."
The Littlest Witch
 
5.0
"Wilma the witch is so excited to participate in the broom flying demonstration for the Halloween Bash this year. However,..."
The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles Book 2)
 
5.0
"*I was lucky enough for NetGalley and Harlequin Teen to approve me for this ARC in exchange for an honest..."
The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles Book 2)
 
5.0
"Feedback Welcome to the resistance. What a sequel! This book was just as dense as the first book but..."
Bring Me Their Hearts
 
5.0
""Bring Me Their Hearts" was a fantastic YA fantasy that I wish I could give more than 5 stars to!..."
Bring Me Their Hearts
 
5.0
"I LOVE THIS BOOK. Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf is the stunning beginning to a wonderfully dangerous YA..."
The Wicked Deep
 
5.0
"The promise of a novel filled with the essence of both Practical Magic and Hocus Pocus is fulfilled by reading..."