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 fifth book in the incredibly popular Wimpy Kid series features the same clueless, often irresponsible Wimpy Kid, but now he's about to go through puberty. Expect a few more references to the Big Change, but no real details beyond talk of b.o. and body hair -- the boys leave health class confused by terms like "zygote." There are a few cartoon shots of bare butts, but they're very cartoony.
What's the story?
Wimpy Kid Greg and Rowley become ex-best friends at a very inconvenient time -- right when Greg is forced to face puberty alone. There's talk of puberty everywhere -- in health class, in Greg's mom's column (how embarrassing!), and even with great-grandma, who gives a secret lecture to everyone in the family when they reach that special age. Greg also notices that way more is expected of him now. His mom has gone back to school, so he's got more chores, and dad's helping with homework, which is no help at all. But there are some perks to getting older, like an all-night, co-ed lock-in at school -- that is, until the teachers take away everyone's electronic gadgets. Not that!
Is it any good?
The series isn't as fresh and irreverent as it used to be, but the awkwardness of middle school always offers some laughs -- especially when you throw in hitting puberty. Most of the tales strewn together here are ones kids can relate to or are gearing up to face. Occasionally Kinney misses the mark, though, like when he talks about Greg's uncle's fifth wedding. But overall, kids will be laughing as usual. Seeing Greg decked out in head gear and Rowley showing off his giant zit is pretty funny stuff.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of the series. Why do you think kids like it? Do kids find it's easy to laugh at Greg's antics? Do you think he'll ever become more responsible? Would the stories be as funny?
Kids who have seen the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie may want to compare and contrast it with the books. Did the movie do a good job of capturing Greg's character -- and his antics? Are movies usually as good as the original book?
For kids who love funny stuff and school stories
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