Over the years I’ve read and laughed at the Big Nate cartoons in the Sunday Comics page, so I was excited to preview Big Nate: Say Goodbye to Dork City by Lincoln Peirce. Mr. Peirce certainly has a sense of the absurd, demonstrated by the various adventures of Nate, an eleven year old boy attending sixth grade at PS 38. The author draws upon his own experiences growing up and then adapts them into the comic book venue. While some parents might be horrified at characters who mock adults, ignore the rules, and get into numerous misadventures, children recognize that the stories told are all in good fun, not to be confused with a checklist of behaviors to emulate. On occasion there is a moral to be learned, even if it is told in a bizarre or convoluted way. You see, children get it and the grosser the story, the better they like it. Peirce is going for laughs and sometimes his audience is the parents who should be reading these books along with their kids. Topics such as sportsmanship, competition, bullying, and school are explored with a humorous tone. What a great way to enter into a discussion on the issues facing today’s students.
As a librarian, I can assure parents that those reluctant readers will enjoy both the style and the topic of this book. Students in the mid to upper elementary grades through middle school, and even high schoolers and adults will smile and LOL at Big Nate’s antics. In this particular book, one of the story sets is about Nate attempting to be part of the “cool” kid’s crowd. Once he becomes part of Marcus’ posse, he must give up hanging out with his dorky friends. Nate soon discovers that being a dork is better than being a “poop” boy to a bully, but leaving the posse has repercussions. This is just one of many mini adventures found within this book. (My favorite cartoon is where Nate is disgusted when his friend’s cat is coughing up a hairball, which his dog then proceeds to eat. – Ewwwwwww!)
Four stars for a fun read which I’m sure all kids will enjoy. Thanks to Netgalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for this ARC download in exchange for an honest review.