02 February 2012

Review: Big Nate: In a Class By Himself

Big Nate: In a Class by Himself
Big Nate: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There's a subgenre of children's books I derisively call the "cash grabs." They're your celebrity books, your knockoffs, your derivative stuff. I know Big Nate has been a daily comic for some time, so it's not so much a "cash grab" type book like so many Wimpy Kid clones, but the chapter books...well, they sure feel like it.

This is the first chapter book installment of Big Nate. Nate's a bit disorganized, a bit of a troublemaker, a bit of a clown. This book follows him through one school day as he does something no one else has done before him. It's a pretty standard story, no real twists or surprises, nothing too scandalous.

I think that might be what bothers me the most. Where Wimpy Kid felt new and fresh, this feels like a bit of a retread, and one that stays well within the margins to boot. It's serviceable, and I can see quite clearly why it's as popular as it is, but it doesn't give me that good feeling inside about it. Maybe the comic is more subversive? Maybe this really is a cash grab and my cynicism isn't really doing what it's supposed to.

There are two more out with one more getting published shortly. These are very quick reads, so I'll probably at least give the next one a shot and see if it finds its own legs. Considering the hype, though, this was a disappointment.

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