Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down

Book review by
Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down Book Poster Image
Halloween-themed 11th book a fun way to discuss kid scares.

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

A reminder that you shouldn't stash food where pets can reach it, an explanation of what storyboards are when Greg and Rowley set out to make a movie, and a lesson about the publishing industry when half of Greg's class does a report on a mystery author of Goosebumps-like books that is really a group of authors. Also, a reminder to never make a group costume without an easy way out of it -- at some point you will need to use the bathroom.

Positive Messages

Bad behavior -- mostly lying -- has consequences for Greg, usually grounding and taking away media time, sometimes extra chores. Reading all scary books also has consequences -- characters are then scared by lots of little things. Makes fun of a modern kid idea about always being watched, reality show-style, which may remind kids that privacy is more valuable than notoriety. Also reminds kids that playing an instrument is a commitment and hard work and they should spend time exploring and developing their gifts. On the negative side, expect some potty humor as usual -- a butt drawn on a note, Greg sitting on the toilet, Greg falling into the toilet, a trip to a women's locker room, a pig puking, some farting.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Greg often makes the wrong decisions -- it's his hallmark and what makes his antics really funny to kids. In this installment he lies a lot: about being bullied so he won't have to eat the apple in his lunch, about why someone who finds his launched balloon needs to contact him, and more. And then he calls his family out on lying, especially his older brother. Greg's mom is always trying to bring out the best in her kids and insists that Greg put down the video games and work on finding his gifts. Greg's dad insists that Greg work hard practicing the French horn.

Violence & Scariness

Some mildly scary images when Greg and Rowley try to make a horror movie and gummy worms fake-kill two people. When Greg reads lots of Goosebumps-like scary books -- some covers are shown -- he has nightmares of pirates making him walk the plank toward a shark and a pitchfork mob chasing him. And more scares when Rodrick tells Greg that a monster would grab his ankle on the stairs and spiders crawl in your mouth at night. Talk of an uncle breaking his collarbone. And of course some shoving by bullies and a wedgie.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Double Down is the 11th book in the bestselling Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. With most of the main action leading up to and following Halloween, this installment digs into some common kid fears: spiders crawling into your mouth while you're sleeping, a monster grabbing your ankles. And the main character, Greg, has nightmares after reading scary books in a Goosebumps-like series. He walks the plank toward sharks and is chased by a pitchfork-bearing mob. When Greg decides to make his own horror movie, he uses gummy-worm candy to pretend-kill two people. As usual in this series, Greg often makes the wrong decisions. Here he's caught lying -- with plenty of consequences -- and talks about how the rest of his family lies. Greg's mom remains the rock of the family, here insisting that Greg put down the video games and explore his many talents.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHainesama123 January 9, 2017

Lackluster

I first read Diary of a Wimpy Kid around 2009 and enjoyed the series until the 6th book, then it became bland and boring but I kept reading until the 8th book,... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEB10937 December 28, 2016
Exellent book very FUNNY and I can relate to Greg in this book
Teen, 13 years old Written byEucalyptus June 19, 2017

Honestly terrible. No plot. Not engaging. Don't read.

I was looking forward to this book, my library hadn't bought it until just a couple of weeks ago and when I picked it up, I immediately regretted it. Look,... Continue reading

What's the story?

In DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOUBLE DOWN, Greg can't wait for Halloween. There's all that candy and a Halloween party at a classmate's house -- a party he's determined to get invited to. When Greg finds out the only kids invited are in the middle school band, he talks his parents into buying him a French horn. When he finds out the party is also only for woodwind players, he talks his friend Rowley -- a clarinet player -- into making a two-headed costume. In the meantime, Greg lets the spooky season get to him. Reading a bunch of scary books gives him nightmares, and he takes his brother Rodrick's tall tales way too seriously. Will a monster really reach for Greg's ankles on the basement stairs? Better send his little brother, Manny, down first just to be safe.

Is it any good?

With plenty of jokes about scary books, horror movies, and kid fears, this 11th installment of the best-selling series will find its best audience in your favorite easily scared kiddos. They're the ones who avoid the Goosebumps books at all costs, so they'll really appreciate the way author Jeff Kinney lampoons that series in Double Down. And they'll definitely laugh as Greg's mom takes over the once-cool annual Halloween party and turns the games into family-friendly fun. The moments with Rodrick may be a little tougher to handle -- Greg is definitely taken in by every tall tale his brother tells -- but there's a good lesson there: Big siblings know how to get to you. Don't be fooled so easily!

That's not the only lesson here. Parents who may cringe at all of Greg's lying will be happy there are plenty of consequences. And Greg's mom continues to want the best for her kids, insisting that Greg get out there and explore what he's good at. Greg, on the surface, seems to fail at everything, but his wild imagination still comes through. What other kid looks at a pile of gummy worms and thinks "Let's make a horror movie"? When Kinney sticks to his Halloween theme, the story feels fresh and holds together well. When he veers to strange flashbacks about piano lessons and speech class, it feels more like filler. But it's guaranteed this effort is enough to scare up more fans for Book 12.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about scares in Double Down. Greg started having nightmares after reading all those I.M. Spooky books. Do you get scared more easily after reading or watching scary things? Do you get nightmares like Greg?

  • At the beginning of the book, Greg imagines that he's being secretly followed by a TV crew. When does he like this supposed attention? When does he want his privacy? Would you like your life filmed all the time?

  • How does this Wimpy Kid book compare with others you've read? Which one is your favorite? Why?

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