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We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "Nate the Great" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Nate is a boy who loves pancakes. He’s also a detective who has located balloons, slippers, chickens and other items during his career. Nate is eating pancakes for breakfast when his friend Annie calls for help finding a missing painting. Nate writes his mom a note, puts on his detective gear and rushes over.

At Annie’s, Nate enjoys more pancakes while Annie tells him about the picture of her dog, Fang. She painted it the day before but can’t find it anywhere. Nate asks her to name everyone who has seen the painting. He observes Fang and sees the big, yellow dog burying bones in the yard. Acting on Nate’s hunch, he and Annie spend two hours digging up Annie’s yard. They don’t find the picture.

Nate eats more pancakes, which are now cold. Then he suggests they visit Annie’s friend Rosamond, who has also seen the painting. Nate determines that Rosamond is a little strange when he learns all four of her cats have “Hex” in their names. Rosamond says the cat named Super Hex is missing. She asks Nate to prove he’s a real detective by finding the feline. Nate accidentally sits on a chair under which Super Hex is crouching. When Nate steps on the cat’s tail, Super Hex leaps out. Rosamond is convinced Nate is a true detective.

Certain that Rosamond didn’t take the painting, Nate suggests they return to Annie’s to question her little brother, Harry. Harry is painting pictures himself. Some of the paint is on paper taped to his wall. Some is just on the wall. All of it has been done in red paint. When Nate examines Harry’s artwork, he announces he has solved the mystery.

Two of Harry’s pictures are a red clown and a red house. The third picture is an orange monster. Nate reminds Annie that yellow and red make orange. He reveals that Harry has painted over Annie’s yellow dog with his red paint. The result is his orange monster. Annie is mad that Harry has destroyed her painting, but she forgives her brother. Nate walks home in the rain, glad to have a happy ending.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems


Authority Roles

Nate the Great leaves a note for his mom so she will know where he is.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

6 to 9


Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, with illustrations by Marc Simont






Record Label



Dell Yearling, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House Inc.


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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