Nate's fortune cookie suggests that today, he will "surpass all others." Nate can't contain his curiosity about what kind of greatness he will demonstrate. Sixth grade may be full of potential land mines, but there's never a dull moment.
There are parts of this book that are laugh-out-loud funny, but I will admit, the teacher in me spent a lot of time cringing. I like subversive, irreverent characters, but it's depressing to imagine that the norm for American students is to avoid doing work, or to criticize other kids for studying. The reading level is easy enough for advanced third graders, but I would hesitate to recommend this book to them since it presents such a jaded view of school. However, the book is inescapably funny, and may be a perfect fit for reluctant readers in 5th grade.
We apologized to Mary Ellen, but I guess we didn't sound sorry enough, because she kept whining that her shoes smelled like dead squid. I said maybe that was an improvement over how they smelled before." p. 59
The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.
**Questions coming soon**
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