Diary of a Wimpy Kid



Laugh-out-loud-funny series start tucks lessons in stories.
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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.


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.


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.


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.

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 Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the first of a blockbuster multi-book series starring middle schooler Greg Heffley, who 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 website 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?

  • What do you think makes the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series so popular around the world? 

  • 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
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

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

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 5 and 7 year old Written byMangoFlamingo December 6, 2009

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

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
Kid, 9 years old October 9, 2009

A must read!

Sweet! I Love This Book! :)


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