Diary of a Wimpy Kid
I can’t imagine too many things more challenging for a juvenile fiction author than trying to write so that your books appeal to both your young readers and their parents. More often than not, a writer really hits a home run with the kids but leaves the parents either appalled at the content or completely bored to tears. It’s a rare thing, in my experience, to find a juvenile fiction book that provokes serious belly laughs in my seven year-old son, while making me laugh so hard that I have tears streaming down my face. Surprisingly, Jeff Kinney has done exactly that in his best selling book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Narrated in diary format by the main character, Greg Heffley, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a humorous inside look at the life of a middle school student who struggles to understand the new rules for being a “tween.” What really seems to make this book “work” is that it’s so real. Kids get the humor because they see themselves in Greg; and parents get the humor because they either remember what it was like to be a kid, or they see their own little rugrats in the actions of the main characters.
Unlike some similar books of this genre, the author does a nice job of really showing the personality of the characters without resorting to misspelled words or truly bad behavior by the main characters to lure in the target audience. Greg and his friends do misbehave because, after all, that’s what makes it funny! However, the behavior isn’t extreme enough to cause serious objections from most parents.
The reading level for this book is approximately 5th grade, but younger readers will really enjoy it as well, if read to them by an adult. And, frankly, I dare any adult to try to read this book without giggling at least once. I bet you can’t do it!
This book is the first in a series of six with similar titles, and all are available through the Rochester Public Library in traditional format. For more information about this book or the additional titles in this series, visit the website dedicated to the series at http://www.wimpykid.com/.
~ Catherine H. Armstrong