by Jeff Kinney
It’s no wonder that Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been such a hit with middle school kids. It’s a very funny book. Billed as “a novel in cartoons,” Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the diary of Greg Heffley, except Greg wants readers to know, “This is a JOURNAL, not a diary” and “…this was MOM’s idea, not mine.” Full of middle school humor, this is the first book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Greg is one of three children. According to Greg, his little brother, Manny, “never gets in trouble, even if he really deserves it,” and his older brother Rodrick is always getting the best of Greg.
In his diary, Greg details his daily activities, starting with the first day of middle school and his warnings to readers about choosing where to sit in class. How does Greg feel about middle school? He thinks it’s dumb because, “You got kids like me who haven’t hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with these gorillas who need to shave twice a day.”
Whether it’s dealing with bullying, his friend Rowley, homework, or family life, Greg is always busy trying to figure out the angle that will make things come out best for him. Author Jeff Kinney does a great jobs, in words and picture, of illustrating the general goofiness that comes with being a self-centered adolescent, and the funny things that happen as a result.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is Jeff Kinney’s first book. While a student at the University of Maryland, Kinney had his own comic strip, “Igdoof,” in the school newspaper. After college, he began writing Diary of a Wimpy Kid and putting it online in daily installments on FunBrain.com. Then, publisher Harry N. Abrams signed Kinney to a multi-book deal to create a Diary of a Wimpy Kid series for the Amulet Books imprint. Despite the success of his books, Kinney has kept his day job working for an Internet publishing company. As far as how much the series is based on his life, Kinney said in an interview, “A lot of the things are true but not true – true with a twist. There’s a lot of distortion, but the essence of the stories are true. It’s sort of a mythology built around my family, my growing up.” (ComicMix interview)
The book’s lined pages, plus Greg’s writing and his pen and ink sketches and cartoons, really make it seem like an actual diary, adding greatly to the reader’s enjoyment. If you are looking for a book with a main character who is a perfect role model for your child, this isn’t it. If you are looking for a funny book your kids will enjoy and identify with, this is it. I recommend Diary of a Wimpy Kid for tweens and younger teens. Diary of a Wimpy Kid has also become a favorite of several reluctant readers that I know. (Amulet Books, An Imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 2007. ISBN: 9780810993136)
By early 2009, two more very funny books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series had been published: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw. In addition, if Greg’s diary has inspired your kids to try writing and drawing like Greg, they will enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Book, which includes writing and drawing prompts and lots of space for tweens and young teens to fill.
Courtesy:By Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com Guide