Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw Book Poster Image

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw

More funny antics, clueless behavior in 3rd installment.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Humor centers around siblings tormenting each other and friends manipulating, lying to, and stealing from one another. Plus kids hand out nasty Valentine cards, parents lie to their children and steal their snacks, students avoid learning, and teachers behave unfairly and unreasonably.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while there is none of the usual kind of objectionable content, every character, both adult and child, behaves badly, and often dishonestly. Humor centers around siblings tormenting each other and friends manipulating, lying to, and stealing from one another. Plus kids hand out nasty Valentine cards, parents lie to their children and steal their snacks, students avoid learning, and teachers behave unfairly and unreasonably.

What's the story?

Like its predecessors, there's no real story here. Greg torments and is tormented by his siblings, schemes to avoid work and learning, tries vainly to impress a girl, manipulates his one friend, and is treated unfairly by parents and teachers.

Is it any good?


There are two ways to look at this story and, indeed, the whole series: One is that it's a humorous, short, easy-to-read book that appeals to reluctant readers, and all of that is true. It's the illustrations that make it particularly funny -- simple b&w cartoons that are so brilliantly done that they convey both the characters as well as Greg the narrator's attitude towards them, and yet somehow still remain believable as a kid's drawings. Along with that comes text that always ensures that the reader knows more than Greg and can have the uh-oh pleasure of anticipating what is going to go wrong.

The other way to look at it is that the story is basically The Three Stooges without the nasty violence, or perhaps an extended version of America's Funniest Home Videos. Every single character, major or minor, adult or child (including, especially, the narrator, Greg), is pretty clueless, often devious and mean as well, and much of the humor derives from watching them get humiliated. There's no real plot, no character growth, no lessons, just the dubious pleasure of feeling superior to these characters. So if your kids like it, fine; it probably does no harm. But as to the argument that we need books like this to entice reluctant readers to read, one can hope that J. K. Rowling has forever dispelled that notion.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why we find cluelessness and bad behavior funny. Why, for instance, is the situation depicted on the cover, which anyone would find completely humiliating if it happened to them, funny when it happens to someone else?

  • Why are these books so popular when none of the characters are anyone you would want to know in real life? Is it realistic?

  • Have things like this ever happened to you? Are there times when you have thought like Greg?

Book details

Author:Jeff Kinney
Illustrator:Jeff Kinney
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Amulet Books
Publication date:January 13, 2009
Number of pages:224

This review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw was written by

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Educator and Parent of a 8, 10, and 12 year old Written bytcbueti January 22, 2009

Lighten Up!

I haven't read this one yet, but I've read others, and as a children's librarian and mom, I must say that this series has reached a level of reader that often couldn't (or wouldn't) tackle Harry Potter, or who weren't into fantasy. Greg, the main character, is so self-centered and clueless that his first-person narration is hilarious. Kids are smart enough to realize that he is not a role model. They can also appreciate exxageration. ALL the things that happen--unfair teachers, sneaky parents--may not realistically happen to someone, but that's why this is FICTION. As a parent, you might want to discuss some of the issues in the "Parents need to know..." section, but don't spoil your kids' enjoyment of these books by making a moral lesson out of them. They're FUNNY! Read one and try not to laugh. Aso, as mentioned, the pictures are brilliant, and the diary-and-cartoon format has already inspired lots of kids to try their hands at authorship. At a time when we are complaining that there aren't enough boys reading, and too many kids are addicted to video games, let's be glad there are some books they are really excited to read. And get ready to give them another book when they're done. I think Common Sense Media does a great job of reviewing kids media, but they may have missed how excited kids are about these books!
Kid, 9 years old August 13, 2010

such language aint good for younger children

but rodrick tell such language in front his small brother .and he cant be a better role model.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Parent of a 9 and 11 year old Written bybrown_eyed_girl April 22, 2010

OK for older readers, not so much for beginners

I'm really surprised to see the young ages for the Wimpy Kid series on CSM. Usually I feel like the reviews here are right on but I think they missed the boat on this series. As an adult, I do find some of the tongue in cheek humor to be funny but the children in these books are mean and their behavior is inappropriate in all of the titles. The main character is self-centered and sarcastic. The parents are portrayed in a negative light. Adults are all bumbling and incompetent, the father clearly is disappointed in his son, and the mother is out of touch and clueless. The main character is, I believe, a 6th grader but several story lines include him stalking girls (both his own age and older). He's mean to a social outcast who lives in his neighborhood, he's dishonest with adults, runs up a tab at the country club, tries to bilk his own grandmother out of money for cutting her grass, etc.
What other families should know
Too much sex