Big Nate Goes for Broke: Big Nate, Book 4

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Big Nate Goes for Broke: Big Nate, Book 4 Book Poster Image
Creative underdogs win big in fun comic novel.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 8+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The story of Achilles is an important part of the plot and may inspire kids to further explore myths. 

Positive Messages

Nate has solid friendships and isn't shy about standing up to defend them in the face of bullying. He's willing to change his views, acknowledging that his club should include girls and even giving Dee Dee due credit for her strengths. He also shows creativity and wit in rallying his friends in the contest against Jefferson Middle School.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nate is able to overcome his own issues and recognize attributes in others -- particularly in the case of Dee Dee, whom he grudgingly invites to join his club. He stands by his friends and tries to hold his ground against bullies. His club adviser is trusted enough that Nate seeks him out at home for advice on finding a way to best the rival school. Adults don't generally get involved unless kids reach out to them, but then they're patient and understanding.

Violence & Scariness

Bullies loom large, attacking kids with snowballs, stealing and destroying a snow tube, and harassing an injured boy. 

Language

Some crass, mildly insulting language including "eggheads," "butt-ugly," "pinhead," "weenie," and "turd fest."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Big Nate Goes for Broke, based on the Big Nate comic strip, captures the small and large dramas of life in sixth grade with smart style. Sixth-grader Nate doesn't enjoy school, and the book is peppered with unflattering caricatures: nerds, jocks, bullies, teachers, girls. Yet despite his preteen sarcasm, Nate is a good kid at heart. The comic format is packed with treats, including extra drawings and activities on the inside covers and a code used throughout the book.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written bystan101 May 25, 2012

epic

awesome book i can't wait for big nate flips out
Teen, 13 years old Written byIsaac T January 9, 2015

Nate's legend lives on in the fourth book.

Nate continues to rock! The only thing parents should worry about is the villain, Nolan. His cruelty to helpless children may be a bit disturbing to the little... Continue reading

What's the story?

The best part of school for Nate is after school, when his cartooning club at P.S. 38 meets. But he's dismayed to learn that rival Jefferson Middle has a bigger cartooning club. And then his adviser says the all-boy group needs girls, so he reluctantly invites drama queen Dee Dee (and accidentally takes her to a dance). As if that isn't bad enough, a broken sprinkler system forces P.S. 38 to temporarily relocate to hated Jefferson, and then Nate breaks his wrist, leading him to team up with Dee Dee to finish his comic book. But he thinks he's figured out Jefferson's weakness and proposes a school contest to try to give P.S. 38 a chance to shine.

Is it any good?

BIG NATE GOES FOR BROKE, the fourth book in the Big Nate series, will resonate with older elementary and middle school students, especially boys. Parents might cringe at some of the stereotyping (the books opens with an illustrated put-down of clubs for kids who like math, knitting, fantasy, and so on) but kids will laugh out loud -- and recognize that Nate, like almost every 12-year-old, feels like an outsider, too. 

Creativity proves to be a valuable asset in the story, and it's a wonderful strength of the book. The mix of narrative and comic illustration make it a quick, fun read, with extra treats tucked throughout the pages. It's a great choice to inspire kids with a penchant for doodling.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the style of the book. Is it a novel? A comic? A journal?

  • What do you think about all the stereoytpes in the book? Kids: Do you have all these types of kids at your school? Or are people more complex than labels like "nerds" and "jocks" indicate?

  • Why do you think the Big Nate books are so popular with kids?

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