Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel Book Poster Image
Greg hilariously searches for dance date in 7th book.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 22 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Readers of this installment in Jeff Kinney's mega-popular Wimpy Kid series will get a humorous but not all that unrealistic idea of middle school life, going on a first date, and being at a middle school dance.

Positive Messages

The reassuring message of The Third Wheel can be found in all of the Wimpy Kid books: Life as a tween can be awkward, embarrassing, and disappointing, but everyone gets through these years and survives.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Seeing adults through Greg's lens, we get a kid's-eye view of parenting that can make grown-ups seem clueless and random. But we can also see that Greg has caring parents who strive to improve their kids' minds and social skills, and who set reasonable limits. Greg isn't an example of great decision-making, but kids will learn from his mistakes.

Violence

Greg gets locked in the laundry room by a bratty little boy he's babysitting. While he's trying to find a way out, Greg overhears the boy riding his bike in the house, crashing into things, and crying whenever he bumps into something that hurts.

Sex

Greg describes (and Jeff Kinney's pictures illustrate) his parents kissing, which he says makes him gag. Greg also writes a note to a girl on her desk, and another kid who shares the desk draws a picture of Greg kissing the girl to make fun of him. Greg has his first slow dance. Also, there's a "Mad Pantser" on the loose, sneaking up behind and pulling down guys' pants to embarrass them.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Greg's lazy, aimless Uncle Gary has nightmares about "monkeys in the walls." Precocious kids and teens may make a connection that Gary has used drugs in the past.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel is the seventh installment in Jeff Kinney's hugely popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Like the other Wimpy Kid books, this humorously told and heavily illustrated story recounts the experiences and observations of hapless middle schooler Greg Heffley. This book includes Greg's "memories" of being in the womb, and the awkwardness of family restaurant dining, sharing space with an uninvited relative, and most of all, struggling to get a date for the school dance. There's a very small amount of cartoon violence, as well as a few cartoon kisses, a "Mad Pantser" (who pulls down guys' pants), and loads of other funny but painfully embarrassing moments. Parts of this book series have been made into movies, too.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Written byAnonymous November 22, 2012
Adult Written byHi muhammmed November 6, 2014
Teen, 14 years old Written byKaymoney1431 December 3, 2012

Wooohhhoo..GREAT BOOOK..READ THEM (:

I'm 13 years old..and I absoloutely LOVE reading Diary of a Wimpy kid.. It's one of the only books I can actually read and not get bored of. It's... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byYour friend November 11, 2013

Not bad

It is bad at all. If ur comfortable with letting them read about middle school dating

What's the story?

In the seventh volume in Jeff Kinney's mega-popular series, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE THIRD WHEEL, central character Greg Heffley describes his formative years -- even reaching back to his "memories" of life in the womb. Through journal entries and Kinney's trademark pen-and-ink illustrations, Greg also recounts a school controversy about toilet paper, a "Mad Pantser" who pulls down guys' pants at the most embarrassing moments, his deadbeat uncle, and his struggle to get a date for the school dance. As in the other Wimpy Kid books, Greg makes dozens of mortifying errors in judgment, and hilarity ensues.

Is it any good?

Jeff Kinney's capacity to embarrass his character, Greg Heffley, and amuse his readers seems to know no bounds. Like the other volumes in the Wimpy Kid series, this book is full of mostly tame, middle-school-type humiliation and laughs. Kinney's memorable illustrations are as dynamic as they are funny, and as always, they tell as much of the story as the narrative does. Wimpy Kid books have typically been popular with kids even as young as 7 or 8; however, as this particular installment focuses primarily on middle school life and the big dance (as opposed to family life), some of the youngest Wimpy Kid readers might not be as excited about this book as they were about some of the others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about embarrassing moments. Have you ever been embarrassed at school? What happened? What did you learn from it?

  • How does Book 7 compare with the other Wimpy Kid books?

  • What aspects of Greg's middle school experience seem realistic to you, and what is exaggerated?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love comedy

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate