Childish Nonsense

Exploring Children's Literature

Five, Six, Seven, Nate

on May 15, 2015
Circa 1983

Me — Many Years Ago

In a way, this is a spoiler. But you have to read the book to find out HOW Nate does it.

As you may know, I have a suite of blogs called gradereading.net on which I post book reviews. I try to gear the reviews toward teachers, librarians, and parents — by grade level. We try say why kids would love these books and how the books will fit into what they’re teaching. Recently, I finally got around to reading Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Tim Federle. I adored the other book about Nate (Better Nate than Ever) but just couldn’t seem to fit the second excellent book into the reading pile. My biggest problem with reviewing these is that I love Nate too much. I so strongly identify with Nate that I don’t feel I can do an objective review. You would think that would happen more often, given my love of books, but it doesn’t.  And, being a writer, I have to write what I identify with. Again, Nate is special to me.

Nate is awkward and woefully unschooled in the ways of a Broadway production. But he loves what he’s doing and sticks with it – with the support of those who see his talent. The aspect that I love so much is that Nate ends up saving the day.

I’ve been playing the understudy for most of my life. Those who’ve known me throughout my adult life may have heard about or witnessed the community chorus incident where the cute little soloist got fall-down drunk at the dress rehearsal, leaving the director to beg me to sing the duet for “Tonight” from West Side Story for opening night. But what they may not know is that this is a recurring theme in my life and seems to have slopped over into my children’s lives. When I was in sixth grade, I was put in charge of the music for a skit the entire class did based on our American flag unit. This was mostly due to the fact that I was the only one who knew all the words to all the songs. “You’re a grand old flag…” Imagine a twelve-year-old flopping her arms to keep everyone together. In junior high school, I ended up with solos twice – once because the designated “They Call the Wind Mariah” soloist lost her voice and once because no one wanted to do a song at the graduation. (Anybody even remember “Graduation Day” by the Beach Boys?) At various times, I’ve ended up with various jobs – many at the last minute – because, well, those in charge knew I could do an adequate job. And I usually shine, like Nate did. I considered trying to become a back up singer – my secret dream job. Wish I knew how many times I’ve uttered the phrase “Story of my life.”

So, the long and short of it is. Read this book. Especially if you’re not the star.

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2 responses to “Five, Six, Seven, Nate

  1. ediehemingway says:

    Sue, I really enjoyed both of the Nate books, too!

  2. You made me want to read these books!

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