Nathan Rockledge is a fourth-grader with all the usual problems afflicting kids: an irritating older sister who seems to delight in causing him grief; a mother that insists on cooking him meals and sewing him clothing, despite her lack of talent; and schoolwork and classmates besides. However, Nathan isn't just any ten year old boy--he's also Nate Rocks: astronaut, cowboy, spy, and singer extraordinaire--plus a few more talents besides.
Nathan may have to deal with his sister barging into his room, or his mother feeding him stuff that can't be accurately described as food, but when he draws, his world gets much more interesting. Then, people around him have big problems, and who better to solve them than Nate Rocks? When bandits are busting up the local saloon, who should the sheriff call upon? Nate Rocks, cowboy! He'll make quick work of the bandits, and rush off to save Lady Madeline, who they've tied to the train tracks, just in the nick of time. When singer Desmond Harper can't perform at his concert, who should fill in for him but Nate Rocks? And Nate Rocks is always there to save the day, whether he's delivering damsels from distress, saving super heroes, protecting the whole planet Earth, or just winning the World Series for the Phillies.
Nate Rocks the World by Karen Pokras Toz has everything you could ask of a children's chapter book--adventure, fun characters, and a put-upon protagonist we can all relate to--and the author does a splendid job of involving us with the story and making us care about the characters.
When Nathan imagines himself a hero, he doesn't just imagine himself in a spaceship heading for the moon, he imagines himself just as he is, just where he is--when something extraordinary happens, and he's the only one around to save the day. "But why me?" he asks. "Because you're Nate Rocks, of course!" they will answer. Because Nate Rocks is a real hero--when people need help, he always gives his best, and in the end, that's all it takes.
Nathan's imagined adventures and triumphs are great, and it's fun when you realize that the scene has begun to take place in Nathan's imagination, and you're about to be treated to another adventure of Nate Rocks, but his real life adventures are interesting, too. When Nathan isn't imagining himself to be a super-spy, he's dodging his mother's attempts at cooking, avoiding or plotting revenge on his sister, Abby, or just trying to get through fourth grade, and you'll want to see all of it.
Nate Rocks the World has a fun story, interesting characters, and a great lesson about what it really means to be a hero. Read it, and I'm sure you'll agree--Nate rocks!
Disclosure: This review concerns a book acquired for free in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.
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