Big Nate Blasts Off: Big Nate Book 8

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Big Nate Blasts Off: Big Nate Book 8 Book Poster Image
Warmhearted ending for popular comic series.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Demonstrates how people can work through their differences and find ways to cooperate.

Positive Messages

People's public behavior is often shaped by their private lives. Paying attention to other people's struggles strengthens relationships. Teamwork requires setting aside personal goals and desires so you can figure out how best to contribute to the shared goal and embrace direction from leaders. It's important to own up to mistakes and take responsibility for the consequences, even ones you might never have anticipated. No one likes to be ridiculed.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nate learns how gossip and mocking others can cause deep wounds, and he gains insight into how private pain can influence public behavior. Dee Dee feels terribly for spreading a secret and goes out of her way to try to make amends, including taking responsibility for the fallout. Nate and Randy make a sincere effort to ease the conflict between them, and Nate goes out of his way to be kind to Randy. A school administrator counsels Nate to be more considerate with his cartoons.

Violence & Scariness

A fistfight, fear of being beaten up by a bully, harassment by a romantic rival; friends swat each other with books.

Language

Insults include "turd," "butt nugget," "dweeb," "dipwad," "jerk," "butt-kissing toady," and "bonehead." Adults are mocked for their size and called "butter butt," "Godzilla."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Big Nate Blasts Off is a strong finish for Lincoln Peirce's hugely popular comic series about an artistically talented but socially clumsy sixth-grader. As always, there's plenty of grade-school taunting and juvenile humor directed at teachers and classmates. But this time around, Nate comes to appreciate the difference between hurtful ridicule and good-natured fun. He also wrestles with some upheaval at home, including a possible move, and discovers his longtime enemy Randy is struggling with difficult family problems of his own. There's some light, age-appropriate flirting and even a kiss.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byTommy 99 October 6, 2016

Satisfying, but sad that it's the last one

This was definitely the best book I remember reading. Nate has became slightly more mature. I just wish there was an epilogue or something. I could not stop rea... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 10, 2016

The book is fine!

Cute little book. A little...well, seven-nine year old's will like the book fine. Of course it isn't a classic.

What's the story?

In BIG NATE BLASTS OFF, Nate has a crush on Ruby, a new girl in school -- but so does bully Randy, who seems bent on humiliating Nate and winning Ruby's affection. Meanwhile, Nate's worried about the upcoming Mud Bowl ultimate Frisbee game against rival Jefferson High, and he lands in hot water over his comics in the school paper. As if that's not enough, Nate is worried his family might move away so his dad can take a new job. Getting forced to go through peer counseling with Randy under smug Gina's supervision seems unbearable -- but it might just lead to a breakthrough.

Is it any good?

Lincoln Peirce says this will be his final book featuring cartoonist Nate Wright -- but what a terrific finish it is for fans of the wise-cracking 11-year-old with a knack for getting into trouble. By the end of Big Nate Blasts Off, it's clear Nate is ready to move on: He's wiser now and more mature. Not only does Nate take tentative steps toward a hoped-for romance using lessons learned from a long, unrequited infatuation, but he also makes peace with his longtime enemy and learns to use more discretion with his satirical cartoons.

Good-byes are never easy, but fans will be happy to see Nate confident, happy, and as cheeky as ever. Author Lincoln Peirce promises this won't be the end for Nate, however: Fans will be able to read new Big Nate comic strips online.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about empathy in Big Nate Blasts Off. How does Nate's insight into Randy's home life change how he views Randy's behavior? Have you ever softened your view of someone you didn’t like after learning more about them?

  • What's the difference between harmlessly sharing information and gossiping?

  • Have you ever accidentally blabbed a secret or had one of your secrets revealed?

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