Enter Karen Pokras Toz and her Nate Rocks series. The new book in the series is Nate Rocks the School, and here is an excerpt:
Buildings collapse to the ground as the giant robot pushes its way through the
dark city streets. The road crumbles underneath the massive beast’s every move.
Frightened citizens have all been evacuated and are hiding inside City Hall’s
basement, normally a secure refuge during even the worst situations.
“Nate,” the mayor pleads with his hands on my shoulders, “you’ve got to do
something! The robot will be here in just a matter of minutes. He is ruining our city!
If you don’t do something, we will all be crushed! Please, Nate, please!”
“Me? Why me?” I ask, wondering why this powerful and strong leader would want
my help. Isn’t he the one who is supposed to protect us?
The mayor bends down close and looks me in the eye. “Why because you’re Nate
Rocks, of course! Now go! There is no time to waste.”
I look around to a sea of terrified eyes staring at me. Yes, I’ve got to do something.
Everyone here is depending on me. I run up the basement steps and out of the
building. Debris is flying all around as the robot turns the corner, taking out the
movie theater with a single swipe of its mechanical arm. He is still several blocks
away from City Hall, but moving closer by the second. The sound of his steps
combined with the destruction around me is deafening.
Halfway down the street I spot it ... the old train station that’s been closed for years.
The city has been working to restore it into some kind of historical landmark. The
front has been covered with metal scaffolding for months now. That’s it! I race down
the street, toward the train station and the robot, as fast as I can possibly run. I have
to time everything perfectly or my plan will fail.
As I reach the train station, I grab hold of the metal ladder and hoist myself up to the
first landing on the scaffolding. Not high enough. I jump up to grab on to the next set
of ladders and proceed to climb at a rapid pace until I am on the roof of the building.
The robot is just steps away. I crouch behind a metal beam to stay out of sight. As
the robot approaches, I leap from the roof onto the giant machine’s shoulder, just
as he knocks the train station to the ground. I swiftly slide to the back of the robot,
out of his line of vision, and lower myself carefully down until I find the square door.
Just as I suspected! I open the door to the control panel on his back. Different colored
wires hum as they power the robot’s every move. With all my strength, I pull the
wires, detaching them from the monster. I hold tight as he collapses to the ground
in defeat just steps away from City Hall. Silence suddenly fills the air around me, but
not for long.
Everyone comes running out of the building cheering. The mayor swings me
through the air as the crowd chants:
“Nathan! Are you listening?”
“Huh?” I look up to see Mom standing over my shoulder.
“Nathan, why are you drawing pictures all over that permission form? You know
you have to return that to school today!” Mom takes the slip of paper out of my
hands. “Honestly, Nathan, now where am I supposed to sign? You’ve drawn robots
everywhere. Don’t you want to go on this trip?”
Of course I want to go! One of the perks of moving up to fifth grade is the trip in the
spring to New York City. Who wouldn’t want to go? Actually, now that I think about
it, I kind of remember my older sister, Abby, complaining that she didn’t want to
go back when she was in fifth grade ... something about not being able to bring her
curling iron. I guess she didn’t want anyone to see her without her hair done. Girls!
Although, I can’t say I really blame her there. I shudder just thinking about it. Oooh ...
maybe that annoying classmate of mine, Lisa Crane, won’t want to go either. All she
is going to do anyway is act like she knows everything about everything. That’s what
she does. I have to admit; it was kind of nice getting away from her over the summer
when I went to overnight camp with my best friend, Tommy. But now that we’re
back, and school has started up again, I feel like Lisa is everywhere I turn.
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