Nate gets Francis to co-edit the Chronicle (yearbook) so Gina will not screw it up. Things take a turn when Nate's sloppiness causes him to lose the camera for the Chronicle, getting Francis in trouble and breaking their friendship. Now, Teddy and Dee Dee get Teddy's Uncle Pedro to hypnotize Nate into becoming neater in order to reunite their friendship and to find the camera. But will it work, or cause Nate to flip out??
Nate is searching through his messy locker when Francis comes over and tells him he is the messiest kid at P.S. 38. Nate replies by telling him itis not his fault for being unorganized. He describes to the readers about his friendship with Francis, and his "neat" personality. Nate, Francis and their friend Teddy are walking down the corridor to science class. Mr. Galvin hands out the marked homework assignments. He tells Nate that his homework is the messiest out of all the other students, and that it must be rewritten with no sloppy handwriting, no food stains, and no cartoons.
After Science, Nate and his friends stumble across a notice for the Chronicle meeting. They reminisce about how last year's chronicle went downhill because of Nick Blonsky, who was the editor of the Chronicle. They are shocked to find out that this year's chronicle editor is none other than Nate's rival, Gina. Another description is made to the readers of Gina's obnoxiousness. To avoid Gina being made "queen of the yearbook", Nate nominates Francis as a co-editor, much to her dismay and Mrs. Hickson's approval. Nate is soon told off by Mrs. Hickson for ruining a book he took out from the library. After that fallout, Francis is seen alphabetizing the yearbook portraits (whereas Nate's is the funniest).
After the meeting, Nate suggests that the Chronicle should have more candids. Francis agrees, since last year's Chronicle went downhill with almost no candids. They argue with Nick on the subject, and then Nate decides to find Mrs. Godfrey. As she is the teacher in charge of the audiovisual room, he want to borrow a school camera so he can take photos for the Chronicle. Francis objects to this, due to Nate's sloppiness, but Nate secret swears that if Francis borrows the camera, he won't get him into any trouble. (This follows up to a view of the friendship pact.)
Once Francis hands it over to Nate, Randy, approaching with his posse, steals the camera and throws it high in the air. Luckily, Nate was able to retrieve it after Nick caught it.
Soon after, the camera is stolen by Nick. When Dee Dee asks Gina to jump rope with her, Nate thought he might get some good shots with the camera. However when he went inside his locker the camera dissappeared. Francis says he knew he would lose it and called him a loser. Nate also got mad and revealed his secret "Butthurst" (Francis' Middle name) to half of P.S. 38.
Afterwards, while Nate was drawing a cartoon before school, he thought that Randy Betancourt was the camera theif. Dee Dee came along and asked about Randy. She wanted to spy on him with Nate, much to Nate's dismay. On the way to school, Dee Dee questions about Nate usually walking to school with Francis instead of her. Nate says that he'll probably never walk to school with Francis again, But Dee Dee comments that all he needs to do is get the camera back and he'll be fine. Then Teddy came and when the trio went to their lockers they heard Francis and Mrs. Godfrey arguing about the camera.
Afterwards, Nate decides to get hypnotized by Uncle Pedro to become Neat.
- This novel marks the first major appearance of Nick Blonsky and the second major appearance of Dee Dee.
- When Nate cleans and organizes his locker, one of the things he finds is the head of a lawn gnome. This is a reference to Big Nate On A Roll when he accidentally decapitates a lawn gnome when trying to earn money.
- It is seen that Nate has made a new comic series " The adventures of Luke Warm, private eye".
- Uncle Pedro seems to have very many skills, ( Ex: small engine repairing, hypnosis, music lessons, and card tricks).
- This book was more criticized than the others, for more cliche humor, a rushed ending, predictable plot, etc.
- Both Francis' and Nate's gr. 3 secrets were revealed in Big Nate Out Loud , but comics don't relate with the books.
- This is one of the few times fighting is a main part. The first time was in Big Nate Strikes Again when his rival Gina has a fight leading her to detention.
- This book seems to focus more on Nate and Francis.
- In Nate's locker their is 2/3 cups of dirt which might mean Nate gets his hands dirty.
- on a certain chapter chad is seen eating but the rules say no food or drink.