Big Nate: In a Class by Himself

Lincoln Peirce, Author, Lincoln Peirce, Illustrator Harper $12.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-06-194434-5

Star of a long-running comic strip, sixth-grader Nate Wright makes the leap to a cartoon-laden chapter book in the smart alecky vein of Diary of a Wimpy Kid . Nate (who’s “not exactly Joe Honor Roll”) dissects the horrors of middle school, from vindictive teachers to the popular girls’ lunch table, aka Fort Knox (“You can try to get in, but you have no chance”). The wisp of a plot revolves around a fortune cookie that predicts, “Today you will surpass all others,” launching Nate into actions that indeed cause him to surpass all others with seven detentions. (His ill-conceived plans include speed-eating 148 servings of cafeteria green beans.) The book’s appeal lies in Nate’s wickedly astute observations and the savvy integration of cartoons with text. Angry teachers’ speech bubbles drip with icicles, and sidebars house humorous asides: “When a teacher completely snaps and starts screaming, it’s called a Full Godfrey. (When Mrs. Godfrey does it, it’s called Monday).” Though Nate may not achieve the fame he seeks with his classmates, this sharp-witted and unflappable protagonist just might find it with readers. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-06-228359-7
Hardcover - 229 pages - 978-0-06-220773-9
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