Big Nate Flips Out: Big Nate, Book 5

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Big Nate Flips Out: Big Nate, Book 5 Book Poster Image
Nate cleans up his act to save a friendship in funny read.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Nate and his friends work together as a team in the Trivia Slam. Readers will learn what "ailurophobia" means and may be inspired to practice for a trivia match.

Positive Messages

Friendship takes work, and Nate and his classmates make a great effort to patch up their differences and help each other. He and his friends work together as a team: to solve a theft, improve the yearbook, and compete in the Trivia Slam. Despite all the teasing and social anxieties of middle school, Nate stands up for his friends.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nate gets in a lot of mischief, but he's a good kid. He means to do well, and he's a good friend. For all the teasing, he recognizes his classmates for their strengths and good qualities. His dad is understanding and loving, and even one of the teachers -- the librarian -- comes through for Nate, reigning in a bossy yearbook editor. 

Violence & Scariness

A bully kicks a student until Nate tackles him. There's a lot of teasing.

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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byBoi boi 2574 June 5, 2019
Parent Written byHungree Xplorer October 15, 2017

Too much attitude

This book and similar such teach mislead kids into using inappropriate language - e.g. public embarrassment of friends and name calling - justifying these as th... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 29, 2018

Funny series installment

Some bullying but nothing inappropriate.
Kid, 12 years old June 27, 2018

Nate is going to flip out!

This is better and milder than Book 4. Notice that all the Big Nate books are predicable; Nate always wins or does something good. But I don't care, they... Continue reading

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.

Book details

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