Recommended for ages 9-12
Graphic novels have become all the rage these days. Their multiple pictures and drawings help to interest readers, especially reluctant ones, and get them reading. Is it any wonder then, that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books, by Jeff Kinney, are so popular?
The series started with Diary of a Wimpy Kid. We are introduced to middle schooler Greg Huffley, who sets the tone for the entire series immediately by insisting that this is a journal, not a diary. But when Mom bought it for him, she got one that said "diary" on it, even though he specifically told her not to. Great.
This first book follows Greg as he gets into trouble with his easy-going best friend, Rowley. Rowley takes the rap for a stunt Greg pulled and didn't fess up to.
The second book, Rodrick Rules, starts with giving Greg a taste of his own medicine. When he and his older brother are left home alone overnight, he misses out on all the fun but ends up having to clean up the mess and hiding Rodrick's secret for him.
We meet more funny characters at Thanksgiving, when Aunt Loretta, Uncle Joe, and the kids come over. Watch what a smart thing Dad does to get them all to leave early.
Book 3, The Last Straw, finds Greg and his family making New Year's resolutions. Greg decides his will be to help other people improve.
When Mom decided Greg is old enough to start doing his own laundry, he reacts in a typical wimpy kid way. He starts wearing things more than once. Gross.
The latest in the series, Book 5, The Ugly Truth, finds Greg growing up and out of the cute kid phase. He enters puberty and has to go to a dentist for adults, where he has the fear of gingivitis scared into him.
Kids absolutely love this series of graphic novels. Each book has numerous stick figure drawings to illustrate the action. Reluctant readers are drawn in by the humor and trouble Greg gets into, and the mischief he creates.
Parents, however, may take offense at the fact that Greg is basically a lazy kid, the type whose influence is not appreciated on his peers. He's pretty self centered and has no trouble passing blame off onto others, like his friend Rowley, or little brother Manny.
But if you want your child to get reading, this one is an almost guaranteed hook. Adults enjoy the series also, although they may shake their heads at his irresponsible ways. If you haven't read any of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, by Jeff Kinney, I suggest you do. You'll see why it is still the most popular series of books with kids.
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