A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Planet Tad is written in the form of a blog from the point of view of a middle school boy. There aren't many words or situations that aren't appropriate for middle-grade readers, but the book is heavy on consumer product and media references. The tone and format of Planet Tad is inescapably similar to Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, with lots of funny moments but not necessarily the kind of characters parents hope their kids will imitate. Author Tim Carvell is the Emmy Award-winning head writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who since 2005 has written the "Planet Tad" column for MAD Magazine.
What's the story?
Seventh-grader Tad starts blogging about his experiences and observations after getting a new computer for Christmas. In Diary of a Wimpy Kid style, he shares dozens of embarrassing moments, including his first summer job (dressed as a giant hot dog at a hot dog stand), being a last-minute replacement in his sister's school production of Hansel and Gretel, and wearing the wrong Halloween costume to a pretty girl's party. Along the way,Tad also makes comical observations about mainstream culture, including popular movies and TV shows, video games, and ads for brand-name foods. The blog documents a year in the life of a middle schooler in all its glory. Author Tim Carvell is the Emmy Award-winning head writer for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, who since 2005 has also written the "Planet Tad" column for MAD Magazine.
Is it any good?
PLANET TAD has lots of laugh-out-loud moments, and many of Tad's stories and observations are pretty convincing representations of the seventh- or eighth-grade mind. The entries become even more believable when readers remember that Tad is writing for an audience, so he's trying extra hard to be entertaining. A lot of the humor is pretty heavy-handed -- a fitting style for middle-grade readers. Though the book doesn't do much that the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books didn't already do, it's certainly very funny and enjoyable. And the book's amusing, cartoony line drawings are a perfect complement to the text.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about blogging: Would you share the kinds of stories Tad tells? If you had a blog, what would you write about? Parents, remind your kids about the basics of online safety.
Do you think it was a good idea for Tad's parents bribe him to appear in Sophie's play?
In what ways is Planet Tad similar to the Wimpy Kid series?
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