Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #1)by Jeff Kinney Published 01 Apr 2007
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Boys don’t keep diaries—or do they?
The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to
It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.
In book one of this debut series, Greg is happy to have Rowley, his sidekick, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s newfound popularity to his own advantage, kicking off a chain of events that will test their friendship in hilarious fashion.
Author/illustrator Jeff Kinney recalls the growing pains of school life and introduces a new kind of hero who epitomizes the challenges of being a kid. As Greg says in his diary, “Just don’t expect me to be all ‘Dear Diary’ this and ‘Dear Diary’ that.” Luckily for us, what Greg Heffley says he won’t do and what he actually does are two very different things.
Since its launch in May 2004 on Funbrain.com, the Web version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has been viewed by 20 million unique online readers. This year, it is averaging 70,000 readers a day.
F&P level: T
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #1)" Reviews
I got this book based on a quick skim in the store where I saw lots of funny line illustrations and large fonts that mimic handwriting. Although the tone was sarcastic, I thought that it would prove to be a good read-aloud for my 6 year old son, who still needs some enticement into stories. I pictured him, the boy who fancies himself an author and artist, just eating up this book. And actually, he would have--except after one night of reading this out loud I discovered that the content was definitely not age appropriate (nor redeeming in any way, to my mind). I'm willing to cut an author some slack with characters that start out rough but learn valuable life lessons, but not with a character that embodies mediocrity, laziness, and is a smart aleck to boot...
To be fair, I didn't finish the book, and it may very well be a great book to give to a fifth or sixth grader who still struggles with recreational reading. But I did what I almost never have to do--I took the book back to store. I suppose one good thing came from it: Jacob came home from school the next day, sat down with a new notebook, and proceeded to design a cover and several entries for his new "diary" book.
**************** Update **************
Oddly enough, this book review seems to be engendering strong reactions in a number of readers. Thought I'd offer an update to be more specific and put to rest unfounded concerns...
This book is about a middle schooler. It is, despite the easy vocabulary and large font and illustrations and incessant marketing towards younger children, apparently intended for middle school ages and up.
Normally, in my hunt for challenging reading and listening material for my children, I pre-read books or read lots of reviews. My mistake here was in not doing so. However, I stand by my feelings about the main character, and when my children reach middle school, I will still encourage them towards books with redeeming characters. Until then, I guess we'll have to continue reading all the other books about older children that manage to both entertain AND provide a challenging reading/listening experience, develop vocabularies, broaden horizons, and remain, in some way, worthwhile.
**********Most recent update 10/2011 ***********
Funny, the way things we write in cyberspace stick around...or maybe not so funny. This review is continuing to get the occasional "like" or comment, so I guess people are still discovering it. Just thought I'd add a note, in the interest of honesty. My son, with whom I tried to read this book three-plus years ago and found inappropriate at the time, has since read all the books (much to my chagrin) and has pre-ordered the latest (are we up to #6?!) I've made him spend his own money or get them from the library, as my feelings about this series haven't changed that much that I'm willing to purchase them myself. However. I do not believe in censoring my readers, although I hope to guide them in their choices. He's read these. He's also read some other books that I feel are more exemplary. Frankly, my own literary choices include both the laudable and the merely fluffy. So there you have it. These books are in my house. I'm not an evil mom who refuses her child access to popular fun lit. But I still don't like them. :)
Jesus, what an asshole.
Yes, I know kids love it. Duh. Kids are dumb. And so is this book. (Ok, that was mean. I apologize.)
One of my students gave me his copy of Wimpy Kid and then asked me every day for a month if I had read it yet. Not wanting to disappoint a student excited about a book, I finally sat down one afternoon and flew through it. Eh. The protagonist is a mean, unfunny little jerk. I freely admit that I probably "just don't' get it," and I'm okay with that.
I celebrate any book that makes kids want to read. I suffered through all four of the ridiculous Twilight books just so I could keep up with my obsessed students, and when asked my opinion I gave it freely - Bella is a fool. The result was one I couldn't have planned; my kids became more entrenched in their identities as readers. They loved Twilight with an unashamed passion.
I'm gentler with the Wimpy Kid fans. I lie. I say: "It was funny. I guess. He was kinda mean." And then I listen as they defend this mess of a book - asserting opinions and then backing them up by flipping through well-worn copies and citing passages. I watch in amazement as my students become not only readers, but scholars.
So maybe I should give this book more than two stars - for all it has done for kids - but I won't. And you can't make me.
I read this for a conferance I'm attending about children's literature, and it's easily the worst thing I've come across in the 12 books or so on the reading list.
It features bland art that adds nothing (other than a misguided attempt to catch reluctant readers), boring characters who still managed to garner my dislike, a motionless plot with no character development or point. It was like a particuarly uninspired Saturday morning cartoon stripped of any of the facile enjoyment of animation.
It's been mentioned before, but the characters learn nothing, and feature no real character development. I suppose there's an accurate depiction of middle school life contained in the sparse prose, but the actions and words of the characters don't offer any sort of insight on it. He's a wimp in pretty much every sense of the word - willing to coast by on the status quo.
I suppose it would be a mildly funny book, if I was 12, but even given the conceit of the audience, the laughs still seem forced.
Apparently I'm in the minority, but I'd say this is a definite skip.
While attending open house this year at my 10 year old sons school, he found this book for sale at the book fair. We thumbed through it, and thought it looked cute, so we purchased it, and read it together.
Its narrated by this middle-school aged kid in the form of a diary, with sketches and doodles included on every page, and basically follows his days from the begining of the school year to the end. He is a bit of a loser, and trys to create a better image for himself through attempts at being class treasurer, a cartoonist for the school paper, a saftey patrol member....
We were both cracking up most of the way through the book. But there were times we also both looked at each other and shook our heads.. as the wimpy kid in question did some very mean and backhanded things as well....
Very cute, very interesting, and well worth the read for any school age kid and his parents....
We are going to run out to buy the new sequel....
I bought this book for my 9 year old son, who had begged me for it relentlessly for over a month. After i got it, i would hear him giggling and laughing in his room, and when i would peek in, he was always reading this book. So when he was done, i picked it up and started reading it myself.... and it really is funny! The voice of the main character is very authentic - a thing which is hard to find. I wish that people had been writing material like this when i was a preteen.
Edited to add:
I'm reading a lot of reviews that downgrade the book for the fact that Greg doesn't learn any lessons or redeeming values... Seriously?!?! One thing that i remember HATING as a kid in school was when lit teachers used to make us analyze every thing a character did to see the symbolism the author was trying to portray. Now while i believe that a lot of books DO have symbolism, can't there be some books that are just entertaining and not anything more? Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, you know?
Middle school kids are often all the things in this book, shy, awkward, selfish, lazy, and ruthless. Its a tough time in their life, trying to fit in, adjusting to new rules and changes in themselves. Its refreshing to me that an author takes the stance of writing a character that represents these kids, warts and all. Nothing is more alienating than reading about a kid your age who always has the lesson learned and the happy ending. Some folks need to look at these not through the eyes of an adult reader, but of an awkward pre teen.