Thursday, September 23, 2010

Big Nate Strikes Again by Lincoln Peirce - or, Boys' Books to Ban

Tuesday we pointed out some books you wouldn't want your daughters to read, lest they start thinking they are as good as boys*. Today we have a series you will want to keep your sons away from.

* See Monday's post re: sarcasm.

Waaaaaaaaay back in May we had a long, convoluted discussion about the first book in this series, Big Nate in a Class by Himself. What were we thinking?! We actually recommended it for classrooms! This book should definitely not be anywhere near, say, upper elementary/middle school boys.

Yes, boys in that age group are notorious for being reluctant readers, and yes, these books would get them reading, and yes, we suppose they are well written and funny. Big Nate Strikes Again even slides in some information about a historical figure and makes him look cool and interesting (which he was). Wait, what was our objection?

Oh, yes! Who cares if they are both funny and educational, they have comics in them! Everyone knows reading books with comics doesn't really count as reading. There is also the matter of  the way the teachers are portrayed - basically, some have brains, some don't. Are we supposed to think that is realistic? They are teachers, that automatically means they are all smarter than the rest of us.

(Slight pause while Miss Ami, a former teacher, tries to control her indelicate snorting so she can resume typing.)

Last but not least, there is Nate himself. He places a much higher value on sports than on education, fails to appreciate the lovely and intelligent Gina, and doesn't like egg salad. Oh, and he gloats. Is this really the type of character we want our young men to identify with? Certainly not!

This book (reviewed from ARC provided by the publisher) is due on shelves October 19. We strongly urge you to run out and purchase a more suitable book, such as Little Lord Fauntleroy, so that you can surreptitiously put that in Big Nate's place should your local library make this sad purchase.

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