Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Published in 2007
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Humor
Grade Level: 3-5
Summary: “A novel in cartoons,” Diary of a Wimpy Kid tells the story of Greg Heffley over the course of one year in middle school. The book is written in the form of a
diary journal and includes cartoon drawings on each page that help move the story along. Greg and his friend Rowley get into several ridiculous situations throughout the year, involving both their families and the school. The book covers several smaller stories that occur in one and two month chunks.
Cover: The cover on this book is gorgeous. It really gives the feel of a diary turned journal by a middle schooler. It even has some shiny “tape” to give the effect of pictures and strips of paper being taped onto the book. The cover clearly conveys the intent of the story.
Illustrations: Jeff Kinney includes comic book style illustrations on every page of the book. The pictures are fun to look at and are needed to make sense of the story. In this book, the illustrations are just as important as the words… maybe even more important. There are several instances in the book where the words would make no sense without the illustrations to give them context.
The Good: I started reading this book with very high expectations. I have interned and taught in many grades and schools over the last few years, and I have seen the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books everywhere! Not only that, but Oswin (who hates reading) recommended it to me. With that in mind, before I even began reading I knew this book was something that a lot of kids love.
The book is written in the form of a journal, with lots of drawings thrown in. Each page is lined, just like a real journal, and the font is similar to Comic Sans in that it looks like handwriting.
As far as the text itself is concerned, the story reads like something I could see one of my fifth or sixth grade students writing. It is very relatable to kids, which is one of the things that has probably helped to make it so popular. From the trials of being a middle child to the antics of a school play, Diary of a Wimpy Kid hits on a variety of humorous topics that kids can relate to their own lives.
The Bad: As I said before, I started reading this book with really high expectations. I was disappointed.
The main character in this book is Greg Heffley… and Greg is not exactly the kind of person I would want my students to emulate. He is very rude, sometimes bordering on mean, to his supposed best friend Rowley. One of the first times Rowley is mentioned provides a great example of Greg’s attitude throughout the book:
“Rowley is technically my best friend, but that is definitely subject to change.”
Greg picks on Rowley and puts him down throughout the book. He also ends up getting Rowley in trouble a few times, mostly for things that Greg is actually responsible for. Not only that, but Greg shows little to no remorse over these things. For example, after Rowley gets grounded for setting up a haunted house in his basement (since Greg wasn’t allowed to do it at his house) Greg goes on to complain about how it isn’t fair to him since he now has nowhere to go to play his video games.
Now, normally in a book with this kind of main character you would hope for some sort of change in his attitude at some point, probably near the end of the book, to show some growth in the character. There is a moment like this (sort of) at the end of the book that I won’t spoil for you. I will just say that Greg saves Rowley from school-wide humiliation. But even with this action, the book ends with Greg basically saying that he now has blackmail material to keep Rowley down if he gets “too big for his britches.”
Final Thoughts: While this book isn’t terrible, it’s certainly not one that I will be recommending to my students. It is a funny book though, and if it gets some reluctant readers to pick up a book then I think that’s fantastic!
I give Diary of a Wimpy Kid three stars.
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Since Oswin really likes this book, she decided to reread and review it for me. She even drew a picture of herself with some of the characters.
Oswin’s Review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Everything about this book is hilarious. I really think people should read this series. One flaw is that Rowley is too perky and I don’t like him. The thing I like about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is that there are sequels. After one book is finished the next book continues where it left off.
I think this book deserves five stars!
Here is a picture I drew of myself with some of the characters of the book. I hope you enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid!