Say Good-bye to Dork City

illus. by Lincoln Peirce. 224p. (Big Nate). Andrews McMeel. 2015. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781449462253.
Gr 4–6—Heads up—Big Nate's hockey puck and paper airplanes coming though! Big Nate continues his wily evasion of homework and navigations of middle school social scenes in this latest addition to the series. In the tradition of classic funny strips, a thin thread of a plot with some gags in the middle are communicated via four to eight panels, each with a small resolution. This volume has Nate working to join Marcus's cool kid group, which results in running lots of errands for the big kids and rejecting old friends until he learns his lesson. Big Nate walks a fine line between tired tropes and alternative representations: there's everything from a single dad to an assertive (and therefore abhorrent) fat girl who wants to date Nate against his will. The line drawings are generally clear and effective, but the choice to depict Ms. Clarke's brown skin with stripes all over her face is odd. Peirce's representations of Spitsy the deranged dog are laugh-out-loud funny. Though it stands alone just fine, it's the rabid Big Nate fans who will clamor for this one.
VERDICT Another "Big Nate" comic that readers—reluctant and voracious alike—will whisk off the shelf.

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