A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is the ninth book in the bestselling Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. This time Wimpy Kid Greg is stuck on a disastrous family road trip. There are small car accidents, some distracted driving, a biting pig, and some gunshots when the family station wagon gets too close to hunting grounds. There's a little potty humor but not as much as in previous books. If you're along for the ride with your favorite reluctant reader, get ready to adore Greg's mom. She's so gung-ho about real family time that she bans electronics, packs everyone nutritious food in their own "Mom Meal" bags, plays car games, and pops in Spanish-language CDs.
What's the story?
Greg's all ready to kick back for a whole summer in his basement playing video games. Then Mom springs a surprise on the whole family: road trip! Even worse: no electronics allowed. They're expected to play family games and listen to Spanish-language CDs the whole way to county fairs and roadside landmarks. Of course Greg's mom's perfect family vacation starts to go awry before they even leave the driveway. Then there's the stinky motel, a biting pig, a busted radiator, those awful gas station bathrooms ... and that's all before their wallets and phones are stolen.
Is it any good?
It could all be cliché, but Kinney's done this comedy thing before and knows how to set the story up pretty cleverly and throw in a few surprises. Greg's mom has such high hopes for a family vacation that readers will almost be sorry it doesn't go at all according to plan -- but of course, that's what makes THE LONG HAUL extra funny. There are brief moments where the family listens to her Spanish CDs -- especially little Manny, apparently -- and everyone plays the car games she's brought and eats her healthy "Mom Meal" lunches. But mostly the trip goes wrong. It's like author Jeff Kinney has the road-trip-misadventure checklist handy: car breaks down, money's gone, motel smells, animals reek havoc (more than one here), they get lost in the wrong place (hunting area -- yikes!).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about real family car trips. Are they perfect like the ones in Greg's mom's magazine? Or are they closer to how Greg's family experiences them?
How does The Long Haul compare with other books in the Wimpy Kid series?
Greg's mom bans electronics on their trip. Are you allowed electronics during family time? If not, do kids and parents follow this rule together?
- Author: Jeff Kinney
- Illustrator: Jeff Kinney
- Genre: Humor
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Brothers and Sisters, Horses and Farm Animals, Misfits and Underdogs
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Publication date: November 4, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 224
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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