From School Library Journal
Grade 4–6—Nate is a sixth grader who has a problem with organization. Everything is going wrong, and he's piling up detention after detention. Things start to improve when he gets a fortune cookie with a message stating that he will "surpass all others," giving him a purpose for the day and leading to humorous incidents such as when he tries to beat a speed record for eating green beans, and when he tickles his science teacher with a feather duster. This fully developed protagonist debuted in a comic strip; this is Peirce's first book about him, and it is a successful, laugh-out-loud venture. Readers meet a variety of characters, each with a unique personality or trait. Peirce's black-and-white ink illustrations, whether they are comics Nate has drawn or other funny images, help to develop the story. Big Nate
will fill in gaps in collections that are looking for books for reluctant readers, and for Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid
(Abrams) read-alikes.—Lora Van Marel, Orland Park Public Library, IL
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Unabashedly capitalizing on the Wimpy Kid wave (with a Jeff Kinney blurb-recommendation splashed across the cover), Peirce’s book, for a slightly younger audience, uses a mix of prose and cartoons to tell a quick story about a day in the life of an extroverted, impish kid. Peirce does have comics cred on his side: his hero, Nate, has been the star of a long-running daily comic strip. He is the classic clever kid who hates school and whose antics land him in ever-hotter water with grumbly teachers. On this particular day, he wakes up feeling fine, sweats a bit about an upcoming test, then opens a fortune cookie at school that reads, “Today you will surpass all others.” So, he dutifully goes about trying to best other kids at everything but seems to only have a knack for racking up detention slips. The cartoons provide plenty of gags at the expense of various adults and classmates, and Nate’s persistent good cheer and moxie make him a likable new proxy for young misfits. Grades 3-6. --Ian Chipman