Endangered Series #6: Nate the Great
Popularity comes, popularity goes. As librarians we’re always balancing between what will circulate like crazy and what we need to have in the collection. And we’re not the Library of Congress – we can’t (and shouldn’t) keep everything.
An endangered series is one that appears to be waning in terms of popularity. But popularity isn’t everything. Should it stay, or should it go? Or think of it this way – if you were starting a library today, would this series make the cut? Let’s discuss.
Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat; illustrated by Marc Simont
Beginning in 1972, Nate the Great is an enduring series that is part of library collections across the country.
The Case for Keeping:
It’s one of the most well known series in children’s literature. It serves as a great introduction to the mystery genre.
The Case for Not:
There are other mystery series that would appeal to the same sort of reader (A-Z Mysteries, Cam Jansen, Encyclopedia Brown, etc.)
Although the series briefly veered off course in the 80s…
(This had to be the 80s, right?)
…for as long as it’s been around (30 years and counting), Nate the Great has received surprisingly few different cover treatments. While original illustrator (and Caldecott Medal winner) Marc Simont is no longer with us, the current illustrators Jody Wheeler and Martha Weston stay true to the original style.
Keeping. Nate the Great stills circulates in our school library. And while there are other series that serve a similar purpose, the beginning chapter book format is under-served as a whole.
Filed under: Endangered Series
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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