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VINE VOICEon September 26, 2002
NATE THE GREAT is the first book in a wonderful series that introduces young readers to the world of mysteries, clues, and pancakes that is Nate the Great. Shortly after a big breakfast of pancakes, Nate is contacted by his friend Annie. She has a mystery for him. The picture, painted in yellow, she did of her dog Fang is missing. She wants Nate to find the picture for her. Nate leaves a note for his mother and is in hot pursuit of the clues that will let him know where the missing picture is. During the course of his investigation, Nate meets Rosamond and her four cats-Super Hex, Big Hex, Little Hex, and Plain Hex, and Annie's little brother Harry. One of them holds the secret of where the missing picture is.
Marjorie Weinman Sharmat is the author of over twenty Nate the Great adventures, including NATE THE GREAT STALKS STUPIDWEED, NATE THE GREAT AND THE BORING BEACH BAG, NATE THE GREAT AND THE HALLOWEEN HUNT, and NATE THE GREAT AND THE MUSHY VALENTINE. She has written dozens of books for young readers. She named Nate the Great after her father. Her books have been named as Children's Choice books and Junior Literary Guild selections, and been picked as Books of the Year by the Library of Congress. Nate the Great was named after the author's father.
As in every Nate the Great book she writes, Marjorie Sharmat plays fairly with young readers (ages 4-8) regarding the mystery and the clues. Her prose is tight, clean, and concise. Reading aloud to younger readers is an absolute hoot, and if the reader can manage the tough-guy private eye voice of a Mickey Spillane novel, the effect on young readers is even more mesmerizing. The illustrations by Marc Simont-the long-time artist of the Nate the Great series-complements the story very well, lending humor, clues, and vibrant color for young eyes. NATE THE GREAT is the perfect place to join the series because this book sets up all of Nate's world, from the frantic call by friends that have lost something, to the note Nate always leaves his mom on the refrigerator explaining his whereabouts, to the regulars that make up Nate's world.
The entire Nate the Great series is recommended to younger readers and parents who love reading to their children that might have tired of (or memorized!) all of the rhyming Dr. Seuss books. This series makes a great transition to leap from to Nancy Drew or the Hardy Boys later.
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VINE VOICEon November 11, 2000
"Nate the Great" is, in a word, great. In Nate the Great, Marjorie W. Sharmat has created a hero for young boys. He acts very independently, walking around the neighborhood by himself, making his own pancakes, etc. but he wears his rubbers, and he *always* leaves a note for his mother. Marc Simont really comes through in his laid-back illustrations (some shaded, some in color) that reveal important points of the case, but do not force things down the readers' throats. Also, like the writer, Simont manages humor without going overboard.
As in the best children's books, the writing style is simple yet powerful, like a haiku. Although the "Nate the Great" series is written in full sentences, Sharmat has slyly created a wonderful introduction to poetry-that-doesn't-rhyme with his carefully placed line breaks and page breaks. Here is the first page of text: "My name is Nate the Great. / I am a detective. / I work alone. / Let me tell you about my last case: / I had just eaten breakfast. / It was a good breakfast."
The first book in the Nate the Great series is by far the best, because the funniest parts are in the character development that, of course, takes a back seat in later volumes. The establishing shots of and paragraphs talking about Nate, Annie, Fang, and Rosamond are absolutely hilarious. Continuity watchdogs will note Fang's slightly more menacing nature (and color change) and Annie's lost fascination for yellow in later books. Of course, kids won't notice or care.
The official reviews don't make it clear which books in the series are actually in this volume. The cover is definitely not the original cover of book 1. You might want to look into that before buying.
This series is great fun for little kids and whoever is lucky enough to be reading to them. Get all the Nate you can find!
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on October 4, 1999
Nate the Great is an excellent read for children.I have found it especially helpful in encouraging reluctant readers. The mystery challenge element is intriguing and alluring. The wording is much the same manner as children think and speak allowing them easier identification with the characters. The third grade teacher from Los Angeles needs to lighten up. Also in regards to his/her offense by the word "rubbers", it is a very common, old fashion word used in the midwest and other states where it rains and snows a great deal. It dates back to the time when the boots were made of rubber instead of today's plastic. Other examples would be "cupboard" instead of the cabinet of Mother Hubbard, "the store" instead of the market, "rug" instead of carpet. LA's teacher should view it as a chance to expose the students to some cultral differences and changes within our own country.
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on March 26, 2002
This is a very cute and quirky detective story for the advanced first to third grade reader. I believe even older readers (including adults) will thoroughly enjoy this book as well.
Nate the Great is a boy detective who is on a VERY big case. He has to help his friend Annie find a lost picture. We follow Nate as he unveils clue after hilarious clue until he reaches a rather unusual conclusion. One of the funniest stories I have read. We'll be ordering the entire series.
Enjoy!
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on May 17, 2000
I've just come back to order the rest of the series on Amazon (We have Nate the Great, Crunchy Christmas and Fishy Prize). Nate the Great stories have great characters, plots and turns that work well for the 6-10 age group. The illustrations are hilarious and we scan them into posters and hang them in my son's room. Although my son reads them for humor, they are the quintessential bedtime stories. However, parents must read the text with a "Joe Friday" (Dragnet) deadpan voice. Younger parents should rent Dragnet TV show videos in order to practice before reading them at bedtime. These books are guaranteed to put your child in stitches. Amazon and the publisher should put them in a single volume or offer as a set.
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Meet Nate the Great, the neighborhood detective. He's just finishing up breakfast (pancakes, of course) when Annie calls. She's lost the picture of her dog Fang that she just painted and wants help finding it. So Nate goes over and helps her hunt down the leads. But can he solve the mystery?
I remember this book well from my childhood, and it's still good for a few grins today. Nate has some great one-liners, especially when read with a Joe Friday monotone. The plot is very creative if a bit obvious at the end to adults. The pictures only add to the pleasure.
This is the strongest book from the series. Children will ask for it over and over; I know I did. Parents will enjoy the humor and characters as well. Buy it today for read aloud pleasure.
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on December 13, 2004
We read this book merely as an "easy-reader" for homeschool. What a delightful book! As my young daughter read aloud, the rest of us became distracted with amusement. Her stiltedness as a new reader gave the same effect as a "Dragnet" voice...a must for future reading of Nate stories. I am so impressed with the author's skill at using so few words to generate so much humor and mystery. It just hits the bullseye by captivating the kids and tickling the funny bone of the parents, as well.

The storyline is a young child detective who loves pancakes. His observations of the obvious are the source of most laughs and his observation of the not-so-obvious (at least to the young reader) are the source of the mystery.

A+ in Reading!
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on February 11, 2000
In my opinion, there seems to be a shortage of reading material specifically targeted to young boys. My son loves Nate the Great, and identifies with him. He has all the books of the series memorized. This series of books promotes logical thinking skills and deductive reasoning. Thanks to Marjorie for creating such a wonderful character.
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on June 27, 2003
Would you want to be a detective? Well i do. Nate the Great works like a detective. He likes to eat pancakes. He works alone. And he has so many friens.
I like Nate the Great books because Nate the Great tells
some jokes and he does some funny things.
I recommend Nate the Great books to anyone who likes Nate the Great books because Nate the Great is so funny and he tells some jokes to anyone.
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on December 27, 2014
This book was a gift for Christmas for my 7yr old boy, he enjoyed the story and thought the pictures were great, he enjoys quick mini chapter books , he finished this in 20 min though, so for a good/quick reader know that it will be a fast read. He does want to read the others in the series.
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