Big Nate Strikes Again: Big Nate, Book 2 Book Poster Image

Big Nate Strikes Again: Big Nate, Book 2

Nate locks horns with Gina in funny, feud-filled tale.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Nate is genuinely interested in Benjamin Franklin and shares much of what he learns in his library research. He incorporates Franklin's inventions and famous sayings in comic strips and even creates and tries to sell "Big Nate's Almanack," inspired by Franklin's Poor Richard's Almanack.  

 

Positive messages

Nate realizes a research project isn't so terrible when he sees how interesting his subject is. His contribution to the project -- cartoon art -- is unconventional but proves valuable. His coach's guidance on good sportsmanship and leadership resonate. 

 

Positive role models

Nate is genuinely engaged in his research project. On the other hand, Nate and Gina argue throughout the entire story. They don't give each other credit for solid efforts on the fleeceball team or the research project. Some of their friends are more gracious; for example, another student urges Gina to pitch in at a key moment in a game. Adult figures are portrayed more kindly here than in some other Big Nate books. Nate's coach, especially, is what parents wish every school coach could be. Friendly and understanding, he gently but firmly teaches students about good sportsmanship and leadership. Mrs. Godfrey, typically portrayed as a monster, gives Nate high praise for his creative Benjamin Franklin comics. The school librarian applies the rules fairly when she gives a detention to a student who usually stays out of trouble. And Nate's dad makes a good effort to coax his son to open up when he's clearly distressed over what's happening at school. 

Violence & scariness

Nate is threatened by Randy, the school bully. Nate lures him toward his locker and unleashes an avalanche of mess on him. Later, Randy chases him until they encounter an adult. Randy runs in the school and hits a table Nate is carrying, getting a bloody nose.

Language

There's no vulgar language, but the young characters do a fair amount of name-calling, including "jerk," "brainless," and the like.

 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Big Nate Strikes Again is very funny and will strike a chord with kids, but it centers on a nasty feud between Nate and Gina that doesn't get resolved in any meaningful way. Nate and Gina constantly snipe at each, and neither gives the other due credit for accomplishments. Their angry interactions ring true, particularly for kids in middle grades, but parents might be disappointed by the lack of problem solving. Nate's not a standout student: He doesn't enjoy his classes and has little respect for teachers. But he does have a supportive group of friends.

Parents say

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What's the story?

For Nate, the assignment of a special report on Benjamin Franklin goes from bad to worse when he's paired with the insufferable, high-achieving Gina. Gina worries Nate is going to drag down her high grade-point average. Nate, however, is afraid Gina is going to ruin his fleeceball team's chances of winning the coveted SPOFF (Sports Played Only For Fun) trophy. The adversaries make a pact: Nate will let Gina write the report, and Gina will sit out the rest of the games. But events don't go exactly as they expect.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Great artwork and a relatable story elevate BIG NATE STRIKES AGAIN, the second book in the popular series. Nate is an underdog who feels the world is against him, and his high hopes are repeatedly dashed by Gina and adults. Nate gets a rare chance to turn his creative talent into academic success, but Gina still regards him as a slacker. Also, Gina gets her comeuppance but no credit from Nate for her work on their project or her performance on the fleeceball team. 

As with the other books in the series, Nate's comics are a highlight. This one features a particularly clever take on Poor Richard's Almanack and a cameo by Benjamin Franklin in the end pages. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Nate's appeal. He complains a lot and has a lot of disagreements, so why is he still so likable?

  • Why do you think books featuring comics-style artwork and underdog boys are so popular?

  • Would you have liked to have seen better resolution of Nate's problems with Gina and Randy, or do you think the way things turn out is realistic?

Book details

Author:Lincoln Peirce
Illustrator:Lincoln Peirce
Genre:Humor
Topics:Arts and dance, Friendship, History, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:October 19, 2010
Number of pages:224
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Big Nate Strikes Again: Big Nate, Book 2 was written by

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Teen, 13 years old Written byIsaac T October 11, 2014

Just as good as the first!

I loved this book! However, there's an intense chase between Nate and the bully Randy. Later Randy gets a bloody nose from crashing into a table Nate's moving down the hall. Also the message might be considered to some parents as "negative."
What other families should know
Educational value
Too much violence
Too much swearing