What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that main character Greg usually doesn't do the right thing the first time around. His cluelessness about what would keep him out of trouble and why parents, teachers, and friends are upset with him is part of the book's humor, which leads the reader to any lesson Greg should be learning. Parents will appreciate that Rowley's dad researches video games on a parent Web site to see if they have too much violence. Also, it is clear that Greg's mom is working hard to raise respectful sons.
What's the story?
Greg Heffley gets a journal from his mom ("a JOURNAL, not a diary") and records a middle school year's worth of crazy kid schemes, brushes with bullies, bad units in gym class, bids for student government, school play humiliation, and more.
Is it any good?
Begun in 2004 by a game developer as comics on the site www.funbrain.com, this "novel in cartoons" translates well to book form. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID reads like little episodes in clueless middle schooler Greg Heffley's life, with a great sense of humor throughout. Many kids have been there before, so they'll laugh heartily at Greg's mishaps.
Greg's grand schemes -- to become popular (running for treasurer, writing the comic for the school newspaper), get the most candy on Halloween, or build a robot that won't repeat swear words -- are all destined for failure. The reader knows where the flaws are in Greg's half-baked plans, as well as the lesson he doesn't quite get in the end. Writing down your thoughts on actual paper may be old-school in the Facebook age, sure, but it still has many benefits -- including privacy.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Greg's journal. Would you or have you ever kept a journal? Would you include art and humor in your journal? How would yours be unique?
Also, what do you think of Greg's friendship with Rowley? Have you had friendships like that? What would make Greg a better friend?