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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Old School is the 10th book in the bestselling Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. This time Wimpy Kid Greg gets into all-new shenanigans including hitching a ride with his grandpa to the hardware store and going the wrong way down the highway. Plus, in a tumble, one kid's tooth gets lodged in another kid's forehead. And kids at a camp give themselves the willies with a tale about a crazed farmer in the woods. They imagine him and zombies coming out of the camp toilet. Potty humor is pretty mild, with some modestly drawn nakedness: Grandpa in undies and a robe, baby brother Manny running around pants-less, Greg showing his rear end getting out of a pool. One image shows a teen smoking outside an ice-cream place. Greg is full of wrong-headed decisions, as usual -- it's a big part of the humor. That’s why parents will appreciate Greg's always-well-meaning mom who, this time, tries to get the whole town to go screen-free for a weekend and clean up the local park.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Greg's school is headed to a week of camping at Hardscrabble Farms, and he’s determined to get out of it. That is, until things at home start to go awry. Greg’s grandpa moves in and takes his room so Greg has to bunk with his baby brother, Manny. Then Greg floods the bathroom while his dad is out and tries to cover it up with a trip to the hardware store with Grandpa -- not realizing until it's too late that Grandpa lost his license and his brother Rodrick didn't fill the car with gas. Oh, and then there's that time he's chased by Girl Scouts in the park and almost turns fugitive. So Greg finally caves and decides his life must get better at camp … and that's where things get much, much worse.
Is it any good?
After a few diary entries that don't quite gel, this 10th installment finds its funny bone about halfway through, right about when Greg is chased by the incredibly industrious Girl Scouts. The story is at its absolute best at camp when one mishap piles on top of another to create truly ridiculous situations. Kids will guffaw at the loss of deodorant privileges and when Greg realizes they need to shower in their own sweat. There's a bit of humor for parents, too -- no joke -- such as how Greg's dad reacts to having his father live with them and how Greg's mom keeps tabs on her son.
And there's a moment of reflection for everyone about their screen time. Guess who breaks the rules in the end? Hint: It's not the kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about screen-free time. Have you ever tried to ditch the gadgets for a few days or a week? How did it go? How does this work out for Greg's mom?
What do you think of this Wimpy Kid installment? What makes the books funny? If Greg weren't a stick figure, would you want someone like that to be your friend? Why, or why not?
How does the Silas Scratch rumor get started? Why? Why does Greg keep it going when he knows the truth?
- Author: Jeff Kinney
- Illustrator: Jeff Kinney
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Horses and Farm Animals, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publication date: November 3, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.