You know those little “f” bombs that sneak up on you when you least expect it, then “poof” they make themselves known, catching you unaware. That’s what Lincoln Peirce does in his latest comic edition, Big Nate: Silent but Deadly, where the jokes catch you off guard, not quietly this time, but with a force which causes an explosive, deafening laugh that the reader can’t quite hold in.
It’s 6th grade (again) for Nate and his friends (there’s even an inside joke about an endless loop of repeating sixth grade, over and over!) and they are at it again with Nate combating his nemesis, teacher Mrs Godfrey, and trying to find ways to outsmart teacher’s pet & know-it-all Gina, such as a Fact Town Smackdown between her and Francis. Of course Nate and his friends are rooting for Francis – “You’re a geek, but your OUR geek!” With a look at Detention (Note on pass given to Nate: The Usual), Class Picture Day (Where Mr Galvin is asked to show us his teeth, and his dentures accidentally fall out – Response: “These scientists are so literal.”), and Romance (Gina has a crush on Chad whose C.Q. – Cuteness Quotient – is off the charts). Holidays are a hoot, from Halloween to Christmas (After taking Nate to buy a present for his sister, his dad quips – “And this is why gift cards were invented.”), to a Monopoly Marathon on New Year’s Eve playing by Nate’s Rules.
School is in the fun zone and there’s lots of chuckles when Nate attempts to be Student of the Month, interviews a teacher for the school paper, and finds himself outmatched at a school basketball game. Chad is able to outsmart a bully by opening Nate’s locker, knocking the jerk over with all the junk unexpectedly spewing out. Nate’s retort: “I might have to start charging a user’s fee.”
Nate’s talents as the Great Nose-Ini are explored as well as his ability to irk all the adults leaving them shaking their heads and lamenting, “I hate my life”, with even the Principal wondering “If could trade jobs with another” once he’s done dealing with Nate.
The one two punch of each cartoon is enhanced by the descriptive illustrations with facial expressions, or lack thereof, lifting the comedy up to the next level.
To sum it up is the line – “He’s confusing me.” To which I respond “Welcome to my world.” But in a good way.
Four stars and a thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.