Author: Jeff Kinney. Release date: 2007. Publisher: Amulet Books. ISBN: 9780810993136.
Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a truly laugh-out-loud funny book for ‘tweens that perfectly epitomizes many of the standard “middle school” experiences in an entertaining and unusual format. The combination of Kinney’s text and drawings makes this novel a fast read. What makes it even faster is Kinney’s humor. Greg’s biting commentary on his peers, parents and school will certainly hit home with most readers. His family experiences, like his older brother who is constantly picking on him and his younger brother who is a tattle-tale, are sometimes funny, sometimes heartwarming. Greg’s relationship with his friend, Rowley, is endearing. Greg proclaims that he’s not sure he wants Rowley as a best friend anymore, but it’s clear that Rowley means more to Greg than he admits. Many of the situations in the storyline, the school play, Greg allowing Rowley to take the fall for something he didn’t do, will resonate with readers and help them deal with similar experiences in their own lives. The wild popularity of the entire Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is understandable after reading this fun and clever story.
Genre: Fiction/ Humor
Reading level: Grades 5-8
Similar titles: Rest of Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
Personal thoughts: I found myself laughing-out-loud while reading this novel. I was aware of its extreme popularity with young readers, and now consider myself a Wimpy Kid fan after reading this first installment. Kinney’s humor is razor-sharp but he also manages to include heartwarming relationships and moral lessons. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.
Themes: Middle school, family relationships, friendship.
Awards/Reviews: Positive reviews from School Library Journal, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly.
Series Information: Part of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.
Greg Heffley – The “wimpy kid.” A small, shy middle-school student who writes his experiences in a combination of text and pictures in his “diary.”
Rawley Jefferson – Greg Heffley’s best friend. A chubby and gullible but sweet middle school student. His parents are strict and won’t let him play violent video games.
Rodrick Heffley – Greg’s older brother who likes to pick on him. Plays in a band.
Manny Heffley – Greg’s little brother. He wants to play with Greg, but is a tattle-tale.
Mr. and Mrs. Heffley – Greg’s parents. They don’t always seem to understand what he’s thinking or feeling, but are kind and caring.
Fregley – Greg’s sometimes friend. He is very strange and often makes off-the-wall comments.
Annotation: Experience the trials and tribulations of middle school in Greg Heffley’s diary.