Daily Archives: February 6, 2014

(story)time: Nate the Great

I love books (big surprise). I love reading them and owning them and lending them out and I sort of enjoy re- shelving them, which is good because I do it a lot. But I also love libraries, and library books. There are way more books that I’d like to look at and read than I could possibly own, and that is especially true for the girls’ books. When E heads to the library she goes right to her spot and starts pulling titles off the shelves. Same thing for F, she beelines it to her own favorite section.

I like to call that section “Mom’s least favorite book section.” That would be the section of thin paperback books that feature the Berenstain Bears, or various movie-first-book-last Disney princess tales, and the worst offenders, the Dora books. She stacks up the first dozen she can pull of the shelf at one time, and then we get to read them! All week long! And like it! 

Aside: Movie books are the absolute pits. There are whole chunks of the plot that are missing. F actually pointed out that one of her Disney princess Tinkerbell-but-not-quite character books “didn’t really make any sense”. So at least she gets that, even if it doesn’t dissuade her from selecting them the next time.

Hooray, hooray! Tonight I found some respite in the pile. Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. I loved Nate the Great when I was a kid – an intense love for amuteur detectives that carried me right through Encyclopedia Brown and into Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. It’s probably how I managed to get hooked on Veronica Mars – a little late to the game, but we’re catching up with the DVD’s right now. 

I was so excited to find that book – Nate the Great and the Missing Key, to be exact – that I launched right into it at bedtime. At first, F didn’t seem to get the enthusiasm her parents were displaying about the book, but once I started reading she didn’t move or make a peep. M and I added a lot of asides as we went along –  he always leaves a note for his mother when he goes out on a case, he eats pancakes to aid in his thinking, he’s quite fond of his best friend, Annie, but he’s pretty scared of her dog, Fang, Rosamond and her cats are strange, Oliver likes to follow him around, and he always, always solves the mystery.

My favorite case ever was the one with the missing painting. I think it might have been the only one I solved prior to reading about the resolution. I KNEW it when I saw the orange paint. I knew exactly what had happened.

It’s pretty much free reign on choices at the library – but here’s hoping I’ve planted the seed to create a new fan. Maybe next week there will be more mysteries than mysterious plot lines in the stack of books that head home with us.


Nate the Great (and all the other Nate the Great books in the series) are perfect early reader books – I think E discovered them in Kindergarten, and enjoyed reading them for a few more years. They are good read aloud books for the younger crowd too – they might surprise you and figure out the whodunnit before you do.

Find these titles at your favorite local independent bookstore. Happy reading!