A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Big Nate Flips Out, the 10th title in the humorous Big Nate series, centers on public embarrassment. Nate humiliates his best friend by accidentally revealing a sworn secret in public, and he wants to take candid photos for the yearbook just to catch people in unflattering moments. But the takeaway is reassuring: Everyone feels embarrassed sometimes, and it usually isn't a big deal. There's a fair amount of teasing and name-calling of kids and ridiculing of teachers, but older elementary and middle school kids will feel right at home in Nate's world.
What's the story?
Nate's sloppiness is causing him all sorts of trouble with his teachers -- and then it leads to a huge fallout with his best friend, Francis. So the spirited sixth-grader tries hypnosis in a bid to repair their friendship. It works almost too well: Nate is suddenly a darling among the teachers. He's an A student. He has no detentions. He's even tapped to be a hall monitor. But he's miserable and Francis still isn't talking to him. To make amends, Nate confronts a bully, catches a thief, and sticks up for his friends.
Is it any good?
Like the other books in the popular Big Nate series, there's a fair amount of sophomoric humor and mocking students and teachers in BIG NATE FLIPS OUT. Before he's hypnotized, Nate is a regular in detention and a frustration to his teachers. You may not want your kids to emulate Nate, but they certainly will empathize. Beneath the butt jokes lies a sweet message about learning to laugh at yourself, as well as at others. And once you get past his mischievous manner, Nate is a good kid who sticks up for the underdogs when it counts.
The mix of narrative text and comics -- some representing Nate's work -- make for a lively, funny read. Author Lincoln Peirce again works in some secret code, inviting kids to engage on a closer level.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how a long-running series keeps momentum. The Big Nate website (see "External sites" in the right-hand column of this page) has games, videos, a blog, and publicity material, and the books include a sneak peek at the next planned book.
When Nate is neat and organized, he gets top grades instead of detention slips. Do you think his work is actually better? What does this say to you about what it means to be smart? What about the way teachers judge students?
Nate's comics are often a form a journaling. Try writing a comic based on events in your life.
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