Somehow this book flew under my radar. Since it came out, it has prompted a whole Wimpy Kid series and even a movie, but it just made its way into my hands today. It’s an easy read, I finished the whole thing in an hour, but I now understand the rage. It’s hilarious in a poorly grammatical, self-centered, middle school kid sort of way.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is written as a diary–pardon me, a JOURNAL–complete with notebook lines, a handwritten font, and minimalistic sketches that expand the text. It’s a great mix, original and effective. And as I mentioned, it’s funny. Consider:
“Let me just say for the record that I think middle school is the dumbest idea ever invented. You got kids like me who haven’t hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with these gorillas who need to shave twice a day. (Exaggerated bully illustration.) And then they wonder why bullying is such a big problem in middle school.”
Or consider the “Cheese Touch” (six-month-old Swiss on the basketball court). “It’s basically like the Cooties. If you get the Cheese Touch, you’re stuck with it until you pass it on to someone else. (Illustration.) The only way to protect yourself from the Cheese Touch is to cross your fingers. But it’s not that easy remembering to keep your fingers crossed every moment of the day. I ended up taping mine together so they’d stay crossed all the time. I got a D in handwriting, but it was totally worth it.”
Or the bright idea spawned from a Christmas Big Wheel disaster: “I found a way to have some fun with the Big Wheel Rowley got me for Christmas. I came up with this game where one guy rides down the hill and the other guy tries to knock him off with a football.” Let me wrap that episode up with two inevitable words: Broken Arm.
Is this brilliant literature? Not by a long shot. It will never rate among my favorites, but kids gobble it up by the bucketful. Why? Because (and the teacher in me is cringing just a bit) it’s a grand slam fun read!