Big Nate In the Zone features spoilers for a book, so if you have not read this book, do not read this article
if you don't want it to be spoiled.
Big Nate In The Zone is the sixth book in the Big Nate book series.
The book starts out with the destruction of Nate Wright's social studies project outline by Teddy Ortiz. Earlier, Nate, Francis Pope, Teddy Ortiz, Dee Dee Holloway, and Chad Applewhite begin work on the outline, using Teddy's dad's books. When Nate leaves his outline at Teddy's house, Teddy promises to bring the outline to school the next day, and return it to Nate before class. But when Teddy decides to have a frozen waffle for breakfast because he was supposedly out of "Suger Puffs", he spills syrup all over Nate's finished outline. He then attempts to wash it, smudging all the ink and finally turning the paper into powder. When Nate and Teddy try to explain the situation to Mrs. Godfrey, she does not listen and tells Nate that if he hands in an outline by the end of the day, she will give him half credit.
During a free period, Nate walks to the library to work on his social studies outline. He finishes it relatively quickly and soon learns that Chad Applewhite has a crush on Maya, who happens to be sitting a few tables away from the pair. Nate starts on a new "Ultra Nate" comic, starring his new sidekick, Mega-Chad, in which Chad saves Maya from a saber-toothed swamp cat and makes Chad the hero.
Nate and Chad, who were bored by then, decide to jump on the beanbags, expecting to safely land on the bag, and not getting caught by Mrs. Hickson, the librarian. But when Nate lands on the chair, he hits too hard and makes the beanbag make a really loud sound and having a hole in it, causing Styrofoam pellets to fall everywhere. He attempts to clean it all up, but Mrs. Hickson discovers the deed and shrieks at him, and then makes both him and Chad go to detention after school. Then she tells them to go to Mrs. Brindle's room so that they can fix the hole in the beanbag. Expecting a delicious treat, Nate and Chad are disappointed when Mrs. Brindle reveals a tray of stuffed cabbage rolls, the result of P.S. 38's new focus on fitness through the Fitness Zone. When she mends the beanbag's hole, they return the chair to the library.
With P.S. 38's new health initiative, Principal Nichols hires the band Enslave the Mollusk to perform a song about the Fitness Zone. However, during the mentioned band's meeting concerning the song, Artur Pashkov, their lead singer, ditches them. Nate develops stage fright and when he opens his mouth, the words won't come out (No pun intended). As a last resort solution, Francis starts singing terribly, rendering the entire concert a failure. Soon after, Marcus, a really popular guy in seventh grade begins to poke fun at Nate, insulting him for almost everything he does.
When Chad gives Nate his lucky foot, which he finds in the cafetorium, Nate gains a huge amount of good luck, proven by a lucky shot into the basketball hoop, a canceled pop quiz in Mr. Staples' class, Mr. Galvin's absence, and when an elderly woman gives him twenty dollars. But, on the way home from school, Chad notices Marcus and Maya together, leaving him heartbroken.
Once Nate gets home from school, his dad talks to him about his grades, including a D in Social Studies. He explains how he wasn't exactly a great student either, and leaves Nate with only a small punishment; He is not allowed to draw cartoons before bed anymore.
That night, in an attempt to find a loophole around his dad's punishment, he draws a design on his shoes, and once the people at school find out, they start "Nating" their shoes and Nating shoes becomes a popular trend. When Nate starts to gain popularity, people even start to hit themselves in the head with an empty soda bottle, just like Nate. As Nate becomes more popular, he even beats Marcus in terms of popularity. However, Marcus still didn't appreciate how cool Nate was being.
Later, Marcus begins to make fun of Chad, calling him "Super chunk" Maya tells Marcus to stop hurting Chad, and in the process, stops following him around. She runs away crying, leaving Chad confused. Dee Dee explains that Maya was a quiet girl, so she was flattered when Marcus, one of the coolest guys in the school, started making her follow him around, and when Maya realizes that she had been following a jerk all this time, she was really embarrassed because all that time, she really had a crush on Chad, who's heart she broke. Nate recommends that Chad talks to Maya. To give him good luck, Nate gives him the lucky foot, but when Mrs. Godfrey notices the foot, she immediately steals it from Chad, leaving him unprepared for his talk with Maya.
Next, at Fitness Zone Field Day, Marcus bets that the sixth grade will not win any sport on the occasion. Nate accepts the bet, and if he loses, he will have to follow around Marcus, dress like Marcus, and act like Marcus for a whole week.
Things are not looking good for Nate's bet, as the sixth grade had not one a single activity. The only sport left is the three-legged race. In an elaborate scheme, Nate is able to allow Chad and Maya to be the representatives for the sixth grade against Marcus and Jakob representing the seventh grade (Jakob was the fastest kid in the school.). In the end, because of Chad and Maya's good chemistry (And Marcus's and Jakob's fight over how fast they were supposed to go, they are able to take home the gold for that activity, allowing Nate to win the bet.
- There is a reference to this in "Big Nate: From the Top" and Big Nate Strikes Again, where Nate is "in the zone".
- You can preview this book: http://browseinside.harpercollinschildrens.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780061996658
- http://www.gocomics.com/big-nate-first-class/2015/01/28 Big Nate: First Class is referenced somewhere in this book.
- During Big Nate: Flips Out, there was a rule that you couldn't eat or drink in the hallways. The principal, however, was seen to carry a drink of coffee in the hallways.
- On the "Trends That Never Caught On" list, the Eskimo Day drawing is a reference to Comic Strip: January 23, 1991.