Big Nate: In the Zone, Book 6

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Big Nate: In the Zone, Book 6 Book Poster Image
Nate gets cool but sticks with friends in comic adventure.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Nate struggles with an assignment on the War of 1812 and makes a comic about time travelers trying to witness the war.

Positive Messages

Nate's heartfelt apology smoothes over an ugly rift. Nate's classmates speak up -- timidly at first, then with greater confidence -- in favor of things that are genuinely fun, rejecting the formerly cool Marcus' unpleasant attitude. Nate encourages his friends to work as a team to defeat rival seventh graders.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Nate feels badly for hurting Artur's feelings and apologizes to him. Maya confronts Marcus when he's mean to her friends, and Dee Dee helps explain why a guy like Marcus might capture the attention of a girl like Maya in the first place.


Some kids have crushes on classmates, and a few are coupled up, but it's age-appropriate and handled well. A brief reference to an awkward class on puberty is played for laughs.


Some middle-grade-humor language, including "fart," "butt," "dipwad," and "turds." One teacher is nicknamed Hickey, and another is referred to as Jabba the Gut. A bully calls an overweight boy "Superchunk."


Jazzercise is mentioned. One character brags about his expensive shoes, but his classmates don't take the bait.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Big Nate: In the Zone addresses the middle-school herd mentality: what's cool, what isn't, and who decides. Nate often sees himself as a victim -- of bad luck, overbearing teachers, a clueless father -- but readers will readily see that Nate is hardly blameless. There are good lessons on personal responsibility, being a good friend, and working as a team. They're served up with fart jokes, name-calling, and over-the-top authority figures, making it a sure hit with kids on the brink of middle school themselves. It's a bit sarcastic for 8-year-olds, the lower end of the publisher's recommended age range. We think it's a better fit for kids 9 and up, who are closer to middle school.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bynylavawoodson11 June 23, 2016

make book harder

my 11 year old daughter read this book in 24 hours and says is easy I ask you to please put harder words and better nouns this book is funny but is to easy for... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old November 3, 2018

Pretty good

I read this series a ton when I was younger and I loved them. I really recommend this series for 8-10 year olds.
Kid, 10 years old August 25, 2018

I’m neutral

This wasn’t my favorite Big Nate, but I didn’t hate it either. The book just lacked the sparks that some of the previous Big Nate books had.

What's the story?

Sixth grader Nate Wright's had a lousy streak of bad luck, even embarrassing himself onstage in front of the whole school. His luck starts to improve when his friend Chad loans Nate a supposedly lucky foot. Suddenly, Nate's riding high. He becomes a trendsetter at school and turns the tables on the popular seventh grader who'd been teasing him. Even when the lucky foot is lost, Nate finds success by working with his friends.

Is it any good?

Nate provides a needed laugh to kids who'll see their own daily struggles mirrored in his comic adventures. Parents, however, may be turned off by Nate's attitude toward school: He doesn't have much respect for his teachers, his academic effort is so-so at best, and he's quick to mock his classmates and friends.

In this installment, the sixth-grader gets unwelcome attention from the coolest kid in school and then finds the tables have turned: He's the top dog, and his former tormenter is getting teased. It isn't always obvious amid the middle-school humor, but Nate is loyal and thoughtful and empathizes with his friends and looks for opportunities to help them. As in the other Big Nate books, lots of comic-style artwork and a secret code enliven the pages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the pack of kids following Marcus begin to speak up for themselves. Is it hard to break from the crowd?


  • How do trends catch on among your friends or at your school?


  • How could Nate have avoided upsetting Artur and Mrs. Godfrey with his illustrations making fun of them?


Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love humor and graphic novels

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