While I had read bits and pieces of this book aloud to students and kids I tutor, I finally sat down and read Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid cover to cover this weekend. (Thank you scholastic book order for having a $15 set of books 1-3!) I have to say, I was not disappointed. While this book will definitely not rival my all time favorite children's books in my personal book hall of fame, it was funny, clever, and definitely an enjoyable read. Kinney uses a kind of wit and humor that we can all relate to--the feeling of being a wimpy kid, and all that comes along with it. Really, the idea of this book is genius. Who among us can say that we have NEVER felt like the wimpy kid? Well, I know I have at least! Narrator (and diary author) Greg is a middle school student without much going for him. His smirky, sarcastic journal entries are nothing if not believable.
What's more, his character is realistic not only in his "wimpiness," but also in the way he acts. While I don't usually praise children's lit. that has main characters acting in bullying manners, Greg isn't always very nice to the people in his life (family, his few friends, etc.). However, I think that quality about him is one of the genius aspects of this book. Because really, a truly wimpy kid does't WANT to be a wimpy kid, and, like Greg, most would try to get ahead in whatever way possible. Don't get me wrong, Greg's not malicious or anything. His diary just offers a perfect platform for him to truly speak his mind with an honesty that not all children's authors can capture.
Hands down the best quality of this book is that it is an instant hook for reluctant readers. If there is a child in your life who claims that they're not "into reading," hand them a copy of Wimpy Kid and I promise you they will be hooked. It can be tough to hook boys into reading at times, and there isn't a boy in my classroom who doesn't love this series. The honesty, the snarkyness, and the hilarious cartoons offer something that not only can kids relate to, but that is down right entertaining (and just doesn't feel like reading! in a good way!). And hey, I loved it too--a 22 year old female NOT reluctant reader. So really, you can't go wrong.
If you don't have this series in your classroom, splurge and buy it!