Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Nate Rocks the World reviewed by fran lewis
Science projects can be a real challenge or a real drag. Poor Nathan got stuck working with Lisa Crane on his latest project. Not only that, Lisa loves to report his actions to her mother who repeats everyone to his mom too. Is there no privacy or loyalty among kids anymore? So, when Lisa comes over to start working on their project Nathan does what any potential super hero would do, enter his own imaginative world, solve world problems, even help the Phillies win the World Series and let the world know that he is not just a hazard waiting to happen when near him but a really great kid with tons of artistic talent.
The story begins with Nathan daydreaming and drawing pictures of himself helping the Phillies win the World Series when his mother brings him out of his revere. Going to school poor Nathan hopes for indoor recess where he can just doodle on his pad, create comic pictures and enjoy his time away from the classroom. But, unfortunately he gets stuck with football that day and he is not very good. Coming home he finds out his mother already knows about his science project, while eating her horrific dinner fit for no one and hoping she won’t pack if for his lunch the following day, poor Nathan has not choice but to escape back into his own special world where success comes easily and appreciation widespread. If only everyone could see him as he really is. Added to the story is a story who enjoys riding him, a father transfixed on his work and constantly recounts stories from his past reliving each event point by point, sending Nate off to dream world in order cope with reality. Poor Nathan gets stuck working on his science project on Saturday when he would rather spend time at the movies with his best friend Tommy. Captain Asteroid is the movie they want to see and he is totally disappointed that he is stuck at home working on his science project with Lisa who has already decided they would create a Prism much more. While taking notes about the subject something happens that takes Nathan into his own special plane of reality and he hears the voice of his favorite super hero Captain Asteroid who needs him to help with a serious crisis. The world is devoid of color and unless Nathan can figure out how bring it back there was no hope for the world. What would learning about prisms have to do with saving the world from being colorless, find out how Nathan does it and why Captain Asteroid thinks Nate Rocks for you!
When Nathan is called to the front of his classroom to present his project and poster it seems Lisa has blindsided him by recreating another poster in her own fashion claiming his was ruined. Voicing his opinion to her went on deaf ears. Going home he decided on his Halloween costume when a unique idea to become a cowboy came from his sister as a strange source and then Nathan reverts back into his dream world as he once again takes on the persona of whatever character or figure that comes into play. So, Nate thinks he is now in a western town and has to save a damsel in distress plus prevent the bandits from taking over town. Can this 10-year-old Nate do it?
Then his sister does something to embarrass him on Halloween and it is time to pay her back for all she has done. Why not get even on her birthday. Going to get his father’s rakes back from a neighbor Nate turns into a Rock Star guitar and all. Is there anything this ten-year old can’t do? Desmond Harper the real performer had a problem someone made his skin and hair look blue just because he criticized the way he created the lighting for his show. Back to reality he finds that he has drawn a picture someone playing the guitar and trying to explain it Tommy would wait. But sometimes payback is not as satisfying as you think even though Abby gets sort of what she deserves from Nate but their parents teach them both a lesson. Wait until you read what they have to wear and do. Finding himself in the hospital to give out gifts how does he turn into Santa at the North Pole? The best was yet to come as his parents surprise him and his sister with a special family Christmas gift. His next adventure will definitely surprise you as he saves a dog from a burning fire and gets stuck making Valentine’s Cards. But, to appreciate what his sister does you have to read it for yourself.
One plane ride to Florida brings about an adventure that he won’t ever forget. Did Nate really help the Captain of the plane move a meteor out of the way so they could continue their flight? What happened to everyone in the cabin? What happens on the vacation you won’t believe? Poor Nathan can’t seem to get a break at all. Tommy has an accident but what happens at the end will definitely let the reader know that ten –year old Nate really does Rock! Just how you have to find out for yourself when you read this outstanding book by author Karen Pokras Toz which brings to light so many important issues of friendship, loyalty, family values, understanding, and just plain fun. Some situations are real and not part of his imagination. What happens when someone really does need his help will he rise to the occasion? What will happen to Nathan next and let’s hope the author brings him back for some more adventures and more drawings that take him into other worlds kids would otherwise never experience.
Author Karen Pokras Toz has a definite five star winner right here. Nate more than ROCKS! Great book for kids of all ages and for parents too. Characters that are true to life and a story that will definitely make you smile, laugh and endear you to one smart and talented young man named NATE!
Fran Lewis: reviewer