Josiah's Reviews > Big Nate Strikes Again

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce
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's review
May 30, 2011

it was ok
Read from May 30 to 31, 2011

In my opinion, this book exceeds its predecessor on most levels. When at its best, the humor is fully on par with that of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and the storyline shows improved depth and creativity when compared to Lincoln Pierce's first novel-in-cartoons about Big Nate.

Nate Wright faces two big upcoming events at the same time as the book gets under way. The first is the handing out of a major project in the social studies class of the intimidating Mrs. Godfrey, Nate's least-favorite teacher. The project calls for two-person collaboration, and Nate is randomly matched for the assignment with his archenemy Gina, whose generally obsequious attitude toward scholastic achievement and teacher relations gets on Nate's nerves to an extent matched by few other students. Now he has to find a way to work peaceably with Gina in coming up with a quality social studies project, or he'll be in danger of failing the class.

The second big upcoming event as the book begins is the commencement of intramural sports season. Nate has been selected as captain of the Fleeceball (it's an indoor version of baseball) team, and he's eagerly gunning to win the coveted SPOFFY trophy for the first time. His luck with intramural sports hasn't always been great in the past, but this year he's entered in a sport at which he really excels, and he knows that his best opportunity to cop the award has finally arrived. There are only three problems: Nate's athletic nemesis, Randy Betancourt, has been named captain of the squad that poses the most serious threat to Nate's championship, Gina (!) has been assigned as a player on Nate's side, and a mixup with the deadline for choosing team names has led to Nate's team being named the "Kuddle Kittens"...which was, of course, Gina's idea.

The social studies project that Nate and Gina are collaborating on is to be a report about the life of Benjamin Franklin. Normally, Gina is a consistent A+ student and Nate barely gets passing grades because he doesn't care as much about excelling in academics, but when Nate begins to read about Benjamin Franklin, he finds something of a kindred spirit in the American founding father. History takes on a deeper sense of real life, and Nate begins to think that maybe the project won't be a drag after all.

The Fleeceball league championship and finished social studies project come together in unexpected ways, creating some surprising heroes as the stories reach their mutual conclusions. I think that Nate has really learned something by the end of this book, and what he learns isn't at all obvious or heavy-handed. Lincoln Pierce is a good writer, and Big Nate Strikes Again is a fine example of his overall creative ability.

Above all else, this book is ingeniously comical. I laughed as hard as I had while reading the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, and I can't say that very often. Big Nate Strikes Again was a great deal of fun to read, and if Lincoln Pierce can keep up this level of humor in future books, then I can't wait to get my hands on them and see what more Nate has in store for us. I would recommend Big Nate Strikes Again for anyone who enjoys the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and appreciates their distinctive brand of humor, or for anyone who, as in my case, absolutely loves the Big Nate comic strip and can't get enough of Nate Wright's adventures.
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