Cover Image

Big Nate Makes the Grade by L. Peirce

Peirce, L. Big Nate Makes the Grade. Missouri: Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC, 2012. Print.

Nate Wright is back in another dynamic graphic novel by author and illustrator Lincoln Peirce.   For fans of the series, Big Nate Makes the Grade will not disappoint. Readers will find Nate to posses the same mischievous personality that has made him famous. He still holds the school record for detentions and continues to try and outdo his nemesis at every opportunity. In Big Nate Makes the Grade, readers are treated to Nate’s old tricks as he tries to navigate through an entire school year at P.S. 38.  An ensemble of middle school characters like Mrs. Godfrey, Principal Nicholas, custodian Emmitt and Nate’s buddies are a comical supporting cast.

Lincoln Peirce has been drawing the Big Nate comic strip for the past 20 years. A former high school teacher, Peirce knows all about classroom antics. This experience coupled with his passion for cartooning has led to a successful career as an author/cartoonist.

Peirce has adopted the traditional comic book storytelling pattern, with sequences of pictures in a four panel format.  He also uses a spattering of less uniformed pages dispersed throughout the book. These pages aid readers in following the storyline as there are no chapter breaks. The purposeful use of font by Peirce supports the humorous overtone of the text and conventional black and white sketches capture the full range of emotion.  

It would be remiss if I did not mention the misleading nature of the cover. Nate does not in fact receive an A+ on a test at any point throughout the book.  Cautionary note: some of the humour belittles others (name calling etc.).

This is a book that will appeal to young readers, especially boys or those reluctant to delve into longer texts. For anyone still needing their “Big Nate” fix, check out!

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Kelly Boyd

Kelly Boyd is a teacher-librarian and Social Studies teacher at Summerside Intermediate School in Summerside, PEI.  She loves to read and sharing this passion with her students is one of the highlights of her job.  She is excited to make selections and recommend books that will hook reluctant readers and open the world of reading to them.