What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that just like other books in the Dork Diaries series, Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker is a great one to get reluctant readers to crack open a book. It won't expand their vocabulary and it reinforces cartoonish stereotypes, but they will read it.
What's the story?
Nikki's back and the Valentine's Day dance is on her mind -- oh, and passing her swim class in gym. The drama is at an all-time high after a series of texts jeopardizes her friendship with Brandon and her swimming class flop threatens her gym grade. Mean girl Mackenzie is up to her old tricks with Nikki in her sights, and, of course, Nikki has to babysit her impossible little sister. She's still a dork, but will that be enough to overcome So. Much. DRAMA?
Is it any good?
Tween girls rejoice, another chapter in the popular Dork Diaries saga has arrived. It's fluffy, funny, and light on content -- just the type of brain junk food kids love. Author Rachel Renee Russell is slowly maturing Nikki in the series, and in this installment it shows. There's less emphasis on materialism, and Nikki shows more redeeming qualities, such as her creativity and ability to think on her feet. However, the characters are still shallow and underdeveloped.
Offering kids Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker is like putting spinach in brownies: It gets kids to do something that's good for them by wrapping it up in gooey fun. Kids love these books. They're a step forward for reluctant readers or a sweet treat for advanced readers. Parents will need to monitor and help introduce meatier books to prevent overindulgence in literary desserts.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what it means to be popular. Why do some kids feel being popular is so important?
Is there a such thing as a popular nice girl? Is it more important to be liked or feared and envied?
Middle school is awkward and miscommunications happen all the time. Name three ways Nikki could have avoided the drama and bathroom breakdowns by communicating.