by Jeff Kinney
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Text Difficulty:6 - 9
Starred review from March 5, 2007
Kinney's popular Web comic, which began in 2004, makes its way to print as a laugh-out-loud "novel in cartoons," adapted from the series. Middle school student Greg Heffley takes readers through an academic year's worth of drama. Greg's mother forces him to keep a diary ("I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I specifically
told her to get one that didn't say 'diary' on it"), and in it he loosely recounts each day's events, interspersed with his comic illustrations. Kinney has a gift for believable preteen dialogue and narration (e.g., "Don't expect me to be all 'Dear Diary' this and 'Dear Diary' that"), and the illustrations serve as a hilarious counterpoint to Greg's often deadpan voice. The hero's utter obliviousness to his friends and family becomes a running joke. For instance, on Halloween, Greg and his best friend, Rowley, take refuge from some high school boys at Greg's grandmother's house; they taunt the bullies, who then T.P. her house. Greg's journal entry reads, "I do feel a little bad, because it looked like it was gonna take a long time to clean up. But on the bright side, Gramma is retired, so she probably didn't have anything planned for today anyway." Kinney ably skewers familiar aspects of junior high life, from dealing with the mysteries of what makes someone popular to the trauma of a "wrestling unit" in gym class. His print debut should keep readers in stitches, eagerly anticipating Greg's further adventures. Ages 8-13.
- The main character wants to make one thing clear: this is NOT a diary--it's a journal. And it's his mother's idea for him to chronicle his life as a tortured sixth-grader, not his. One day Greg will be famous, but "for now I'm stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons." In a voice that brings to mind Holden Caulfield and David Sedaris rolled into one, Greg discusses the fleeting nature of popularity, the logic of bullying, and the fickleness of the fairer sex. Narrator Ramon de Ocampo is completely tuned in to Greg's angst-filled point of view. Though Greg is not always what you'd call a sympathetic character, de Ocampo's well-dramatized, insightful presentations of his various plights evoke our empathy--and laughter. J.C.G. (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
June 1, 2008
Gr 5-8-Greg Heffly has started seventh grade with an albatross around his neck. His mother insists that he keep a diary and record his thoughts and feelings during this pivotal year. What follows is an account of the ups and downs of middle school life through Greg's eyes: bullying, popularity, the discovery of the opposite sex, unreasonable teachers, sports, and more. This novel (Amulet Books, 2007) by Jeff Kinney has been available online (funbrain.com) as a Web comic for several years. The print version includes additional episodes. Actor Ramon de Ocampo does a fine job interpreting Greg's voice, but the print version must be paired with the audiobook because the hilarious cartoon illustrations and handwritten text are integral to the telling and add sparkle to the narration. This will be an incredibly popular choice, especially with boys and reluctant readers.Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK
Copyright 2008 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
- As the school year starts, Greg Heffley is out to replace his former best friend, Rowley. Identifying a middle school buddy is tricky, as is navigating the family upheaval when Greg's mother goes back to school and when the extended family gathers at Grandma's for Uncle Gary's wedding. Transitions are hard! Ramon de Ocampo delivers with steady pacing and a mostly deadpan voice that is perfect for the story's outrageous events and Greg's running commentary on all that is happening in his life. In particular, de Ocampo's sarcasm as he delivers Dad's proclamations--"RESPONSIBILITY!"--underscores the humor in the adult/'tween relationship. A.R. (c) AudioFile 2011, Portland, Maine
November 10, 2014
Could a Heffley family vacation ever be anything but a series of escalating tribulations that would test Job's resolve? In this ninth Diary of a Wimpy Kid outing, Kinney detours from the more episodic nature of the earlier books to trace the family's doomed-from-the-start road trip, spurred by Greg's mother's subscription to Family Frolic ("There must be something wrong with our family," Greg muses, "because we can never measure up to the ones in the magazine"). Kinney maintains his knack for getting the details of family life just right (naturally, the only available lounge chair at a wildly overcrowded waterpark is the one with several broken straps). But between the inadvertent acquisition of a pet pig, an attack by a flock of seagulls, Greg getting medical attention at the vet, and baby brother Manny managing to knock the parked family car into drive, there's more out-and-out absurdity in this installment than in previous books. Readers won't care, though, and their own family vacations will look downright blissful by comparison. Ages 8â12. Agent: Sylvie Rabineau, RWSG Literary Agency.
November 9, 2015
"Mom says the problem with society these days is everybody's got their nose in a screen, and nobody takes the time to get to know the people who live around them," laments Greg Heffley, who reluctantly kicks it old school in this 10th installment of the Ã¼ber-popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. When Mrs. Heffley gets the town to unplug for 48 hours, Greg tries (but naturally fails) to cash in on neighborhood foot traffic with a lemonade stand ("One guy had a problem with the fact that we were using the same glass for every customer"). Grandpa, who has moved in with the Heffleys to save money, is also full of "back in the day" stories; Greg and Rowley finally try playing kick-the-can, but quit of boredom after 30 seconds. A weeklong trip to "Hardscrabble Farm," where Greg and his classmates sleep in primitive cabins and do chores, is the final affront, though it reveals that Greg may come by his artful dodging honestly. Kinney's fans will find the same winning formula: at least one joke every two pages. Expect readers to line up for Greg's latest. Ages 8â12. Agent: Sylvie Rabineau, RWSG Literary Agency.
Starred review from November 26, 2007
Kinney’s junior-high diarist returns to chronicle another year’s worth of comic moments in this riotous sequel. Once again, school-related drama constitutes a good portion of Greg’s subject matter, from an ongoing correspondence with a pen pal (“I’m pretty sure 'aquaintance’ doesn’t have a 'c’ in it. You really need to work on your English,” Greg replies to the French student’s polite introduction) to mastering book reports by writing “exactly what the teacher wants to hear” (“There were a bunch of hard words in this book, but I looked them up in the dictionary so now I know what they mean”). As in the previous book, cartoons form part of the narrative, corroborating (or disproving) Greg’s statements. He claims that kids with last names at the start of the alphabet are smartest, and a side-by-side comparison of prim über-nerd Alex Aruda and gap-toothed Christopher Ziegel drives the point home. Additionally, Kinney fleshes out the often testy relationships between Greg and his slacker older sibling, Rodrick, and his little brother, Manny (when Greg gets mad at Manny for shoving a cookie in his video game system, the toddler protests, “I’m ownwy thwee!” and offers a ball of tinfoil with toothpicks shoved through to apologize). The hilarious interplay between text and cartoons and the keen familial observations that set Diary of a Wimpy Kid
apart are just as evident in this outing, and are just as likely to keep readers in stitches. Ages 8-up.
- Publishers Weekly, starred review "[This] should keep readers in stitches ..."
PublisherRecorded Books, Inc.
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