Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Common Sense Media says

Laugh-out-loud funny school stories with lessons.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story may make light of troublemaking because it's part of the humor, but there are consequences and lessons kids can easily learn about what the main character should have done. Also, the book may entice kids to start their own journals.

Positive role models

A big part of the book's humor is Greg's cluelessness about what would have kept him out of trouble and why his parents, teachers, and friends are upset with him. Readers get this message in the humor. Greg mistreats his underdog friend Rowley more than a few times, but this comes back to haunt him. Greg's parents try hard to lead him in the right direction; his mom is especially formidable in a few situations. Rowley's dad looks up video games on a parent Web site to see if they have too much violence.

Violence

Greg draws pictures of kids getting pushed around by bullies at school. Teens chase him in a truck and make Rowley eat something disgusting. Greg breaks Rowley's hand in a dangerous stunt.

Sex

Boys notice girls at school. Greg's older brother gets in trouble for letting their baby brother bring a magazine picture of a girl in a bikini to show-and-tell. His mom makes him apologize to all women on paper.

Language

Kids get in trouble in Independent Study for writing down all the swear words they know -- but you don't see any of the words, and it's for a pretty innocent reason. "Jerk," "morons," and "fart" are the strongest words used in the cartoons. Greg tries to listen to his brother's Parent Advisory-labeled music and gets caught.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

In an anti-smoking poster contest at school, Greg loses to a kid who he says smokes at least a pack of cigarettes a day.

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.

Parents say

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?

QUALITY
 

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?

Book details

Author:Jeff Kinney
Genre:School
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Abrams Books for Young Readers
Publication date:April 1, 2007
Number of pages:224
Read aloud:9
Read alone:9

This review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.

See more about how we rate and review.

Great handpicked alternatives

For kids who love school stories and humor

External sites

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 5 and 8 year old Written bythefournguyens June 5, 2010
AGE
10
QUALITY
 

Great for someone older than 9.

You can call me an over-protective parent anytime and that's fine. I prefer to limit what my kids are exposed to at this age. There is so much great literature out there that does not humiliate or include messages about bullying. While I think this book is amusing on a pre-teen kid scale, it is not appropriate for someone under the age of at least 10. Older children have a better ability to distinguish between what is funny in fiction and what it appropriate in real-life. Just because it's on the NYT bestseller list does not mean it's okay for younger kids. If a child thinks that it's funny when someone is bullied or humiliated, fiction or not, I think that's a problem.

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byMangoFlamingo December 6, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

Some of the stuff in this book BUGGED me..

Ok, I only read the first 10 pages in the book store, I admit. But in the first 10 pages the main character talks about sitting between "two HOT GIRLS" in school and then speaks of one of them possibly liking him because he has a "cute butt". I had this book recommened to me in the book store for my 7 year old son. I paged through and thought it was cute until I hit those passages and that was it for me. My son is going to get enough sexualization through today's media as he grows, I don't need to introduce it to him at age 7. It really BUGGED me that this stuff was in there as I think he'd like the book style otherwise.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Kid, 9 years old Written bylittlemisszozo October 9, 2009
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

A must read!

Sweet! I Love This Book! :)

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Top Kids' Movies: An Essential Guide for Families