Saturday, April 30, 2011

For young readers: The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

book reviews

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
Since its first volume came out in 2007, Jeff Kinney’s The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has gained widespread acclaim. The books follow the life of Gregory Heffley, a middle school student who fills his journals with anecdotes from his daily life; the entries are amusing for a variety of reasons and are interspersed with illustrations that add to the content’s humor. The series’ young protagonist may be far from perfect, but he never fails to almost unwittingly corroborate the fact that everything you do has its repercussions. Greg’s actions and decisions are often flawed, and his obliviousness is almost chronic, but his issues are likely to resonate with younger readers while bringing a smile to their faces. The books are easy to read, the illustrations serve to attract kids who might not be fond of reading, and the humor ensures the readers will keep coming back for more.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s Journal (2007)
After Greg’s mum gets him a diary, he reluctantly starts chronicling his home and school life, and it becomes obvious fairly quickly that the narrator has a knack for getting into all kinds of trouble. As he begins his first year in middle school, which according to him is the “dumbest idea ever invented”, Greg struggles with fitting in, trying to become popular, and avoiding the “cheese touch”, while hanging out with his best friend Rowley, dealing with his pampered younger brother Manny, and getting tormented by his elder brother Rodrick.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2008)
Whether he’s getting bullied or being a bully, Greg continues penning down his daily activities in Rodrick Rules, the second book of the series. After having a lousy summer, which included an embarrassing incident that he would more than like to remain a secret, Greg struggles through his mother’s chores-for-money program which suffering at the hands of Rodrick who continues to pick on him.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (2009)
Greg takes it upon himself to try and help other people improve in The Last Straw, after deciding that he’s “already pretty much one of the best people I know”; of course reality begs to differ with his judgment, so once again he finds himself on the wrong side of fortune. His father’s attempts to toughen him up and get him to be less wimpy don’t yield the best results, and his attempts to impress Holly Hills, who is one of the cutest girls in his class, don’t go quite as planned.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2009)
The fourth book begins as summer kicks in, and Greg misses no chance of making a complete mess of things. His actions test his friendship with Rowley as they team up for a sleepover, watch a horror movie, and come up with an ill-fated attempt at making money, while his family gets a pet dog, which ends up “ruining the two things that are the most important to” Greg: “television and sleep”.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (2010)
Greg’s diary continues in The Ugly Truth, as he writes and sketches his way through the fifth and latest installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid. After having a falling out with Rowley, Greg is “in the market for a new best friend”, while dealing with the pressures of growing up. The protagonist recounts more of his adventures, once again using his standard dry wit and funny cartoons to entertain young readers.

- By Sameen Amer

The Express Tribune - 30th April, 2011

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