Big Nate Goes for Broke: Big Nate, Book 4

Common Sense Media says

Creative underdogs win big in fun comic novel.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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."

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.

Parents say

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Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Lincoln Peirce
Illustrator:Lincoln Peirce
Genre:School
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:March 20, 2012
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Read aloud:8 - 12
Read alone:8 - 12

This review of Big Nate Goes for Broke: Big Nate, Book 4 was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written bystan101 May 25, 2012
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

epic

awesome book i can't wait for big nate flips out
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byIsaac T January 9, 2015
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

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 ones. And Nate becomes P.S. 38's hero.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Kid, 12 years old March 25, 2012
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Anticipating

mild insults and bullys all around but i love these books cant wait to read!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing

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