Nate the Great and the Missing Birthday Snake – written by Andrew Sharmat and Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Jody Wheeler, Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, 9781101934678, 2017
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Nate the Great has dozens of books, each exploring a new mystery with the classic elements of detective fiction with Nate pursuing clues, interviewing witnesses and experts, and even whipping out a magnifying glass. This installment is a great addition with all of the above, plus great involvement of female characters. Readers can pick up on the messages embedded in the story such as helping friends, overcoming fears (Nate does NOT like snakes), working together, and, most notably, the knowledge that snakes aren’t all that bad. Though Nate still avoids touching the missing snake (lovingly named Ultra-Giant Goliath Chomp), he sticks to the case until it is solved.
Anything you didn’t like about it? The representation of diverse characters still needs a little work.
To whom would you recommend this book? Recommended for children reading at a 1st to 2nd grade level who love Nate the Great’s other mysteries or detectives in general. As with the other installments, kids can jump right in to any book that catches their eye and this one is no exception.
Who should buy this book? Childrens’ library collections (public and school)
Where would you shelve it ? Easy/Early Readers or Chapter Books (dependent on the library’s collection policies)
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Give this a pass on personal reading, but purchase it if you have Nate fans in your community/school.
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Melissa McCleary, Pembroke Public Library, Pembroke, MA
Date of review: July 8, 2017