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Diary of a Wimpy Kid redux (series by Jeff Kinney)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #1)Since book 8, Hard Luck, was just released, it seems like a fitting time to review the series for those who need a refresher or who haven’t yet read them.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley’s journal by Jeff Kinney
Greg Heffley just started middle school and he’d like this year to be different from the past. He’d like to be more popular, right now he’s ranked about 52nd or 53rd; more muscular, so he wouldn’t have to wrestle Fregley—the weirdest and 2nd lightest kid in class; not be embarrassed by his family during the school play, which Mom made him tryout for; and get the new “Twisted Wizard” videogame for Christmas. Will this year be all the Greg imagines it will be or will it be just another year in the life of Greg Heffley, the self-proclaimed wimpy kid?

By the way, he specifically told his mom to buy a JOURNAL not a DIARY, so don’t get the wrong idea. This book isn’t about “feelings”. It was his mom’s idea, but will come in handy when he’s older, rich and famous. And it has great cartoon illustrations and a plan for a spectacularly spooky Halloween haunted house.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #2)Rodrick Rules (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #2)
Greg is back for another year of middle school. He’s decided to continue his journaling, although he has a few secrets that aren’t even safe enough for the journal to keep.

Greg’s family is pretty typical. Mom is a preschool teacher who thinks any problem can be solved by talking it out and drawing pictures. His dad would rather be hiding out in the basement working on his model-size Civil War battle replica than watching chick-flicks with Mom. Greg has two brothers, Rodrick and Manny. Rodrick is in high school and loves to bully Greg. He also knows a secret from the summer that could ruin Greg’s life forever. Manny is 3 and a huge tattle tale.

So what else is new! Well, Greg still has the Cheese Touch from the end of last school year and he’s got to find someone to give it to. His parents decide to leave he and Rodrick alone for the night and Rodrick throws a huge party. Rodrick locks Greg in the basement but then threatens him to secrecy. Will the parents find out and if so, is there any sort of punishment that could make Rodrick finally leave Greg alone? Welcome to another addition of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #3)The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #3)
It’s a New Year and Greg isn’t making any resolutions. Why fix yourself when you are just about perfect!?! But he has resolved to help others in their quest for self-improvement. In other less than perfect news, the bus stop has been rezoned so now Greg and Rowley must walk to school. A snack thief is on the loose in the Heffley house and without that extra sugary boost in his lunch (plus the extra exercise from walking to school), Greg keeps falling asleep in class. The new TV lineup as well as an after school nap routine (what teenager isn’t tired after working that hard all day?) leaves no time for homework. Greg has his eye on Holly Hills, but hasn’t figured out a way to get her attention… He’s pretty sure his diminishing wardrobe isn’t helping. (Thanks to Uncle Charlie’s gift of a laundry hoop, Greg is now responsible for washing his own clothing—how many times can you wear something without being referred to the nurse for a lecture on hygiene?) The Last Straw of this less than perfect start to the year would have to be impressing Dad into not making him attend to Spag Union (AKA Military Academy). How far will Greg be willing to go (soccer, Boy Scouts) in order to save a perfect summer vacation?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #4)Dog Days (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #4)
Summer is here again and Greg has big plans which include a lot of sleeping and playing videogames. However, Mom and Dad don’t seem to understand and think he should spend more time outside. Thankfully Rowley’s dad is a member of the country club, where the boys can hang out by the pool and drink fruit smoothies by the dozen. That is until Mr. Jefferson receives the $83 bill and demands Greg and Rowley pay it back (WHAT!).

Greg hatches a plan to start a lawn business (VIP Lawn Care). It would be taking off if Mr. Jefferson hadn’t banned them from printing their flyers on his computer and if the yellow pages didn’t charge thousands of dollars for advertising. Gramma won’t be a reference for Greg but surely she won’t care if they use her lawnmower, since Greg doesn’t have any equipment. (How do you start those things?) And why don’t people understand that Greg just doesn’t do poo?

To make matters worse, Mom cancels the family vacation since money is tight. Birthday gifts are never what you want and the community pool is full of scary images. Welcome to the Dog Days of summer, Wimpy Kid style.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: How Greg Heffley Went HollywoodThe Wimpy Kid Movie Diary: How Greg Heffley Went Hollywood
If you’re a fan of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you already know there is a movie and you’ve probably already seen it. But do you know how it was made and why they decided to use live action rather than animation? How much do you know about the making of a movie?
Here’s your chance to discover the answers to all your questions and go behind the scenes of the Wimpy Kid movie. This book should help satisfy your Wimpy Kid cravings until the 5th book of the series is released in November 2010.

Why I picked up the book: I enjoy the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and was interested in what this book had in store for readers.

Why I finished it: It was a fast read and was written in the style of the other books (text, illustrations, and now photographs). It was fun to learn what goes on behind the scenes of movies and find out why things were changed.

I’d give it to: fans of the Wimpy Kid books and those who are interested in how movies are made.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Ugly Truth (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #5)The Ugly Truth (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #5)
Greg Heffley is beginning another year of middle school and quite a few things are changing. He and Rowley are no longer friends. It is the year for “the talk” in health class, and the co-ed lock-in at school. Mom is heading back to college for the semester, which means things are changing at home (“Increased Responsibilities”). Will Greg survive or have to face “the ugly truth”?

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #6)Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #6)
Some people love the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, full of holiday cheer and fun family times. Not Greg. Greg doesn’t enjoy family time or the threats that come with not being on your best behavior. Who really wants to find out if Santa has a “Naughty List”?

Whatever happened to the good ole days when parents gave you money to buy gifts, which meant low priced gifts for them and a few fun treats for yourself? Why does being an 8th grader mean you have to earn your own money? How many jobs, especially during the cold snowy season, are available for teens?

Greg is about to discover the “joys” and misfortunes of snow removal, complete with a lawn mower and water hose. Not to mention how much more exciting the holiday season can become when a blizzard traps the family, minus Dad who is stuck at work, indoors with a dwindling supply of food. Can anyone say “Cabin Fever”?

Why I picked up the book: I’ve read the others in the series and love them. Greg reminds me of my brother at that age. Also two of my nephews are reading the series. One is a 5th grader and loves to read. The other is in 8th grade and is a reluctant reader (he would rather be hunting). Both pre-ordered the book and I wanted to make sure I read it before seeing them at Christmas.

Why I finished it: It is funny and hard to put down. I would have finished it in one sitting, less than an hour, except I started it at 10pm and was super tired.

I’d give it to: fans of the series. Boys who like comic books and humor. Junior high teachers and parents–anyone who knows or once knew a teen boy.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


The Third Wheel (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #7)The Third Wheel (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #7)
Greg is at it again. The new year starts with new student council elections. It seems those students who were elected in the fall haven’t been attending meetings. While Greg thinks he’d make a great politician and has brilliant ideas, you must be in good academic standing, with no record of detentions, in order to run. Oops!

So Greg does the next best thing and encourages Rowley to run in his place. Rowley wins! Which wasn’t hard when you are the only candidate on the ballot for Social Chairperson. Greg plans to “attend” meetings via walkie-talkie. First order of business post election is the winning president’s platform, stocking student restrooms with soft toilet paper. But in order to do that, they must raise money, which isn’t an easy feat for students who’d rather eat candy bars than sell them. The guys on the council think a WWE meets X-games motocross is a perfect event. But the planning committee ends up full of girls who like the idea of a Valentine’s Dance.

It is hard enough to find a lab partner in a class where there are more boys than girls. How in the world do you find a date to the dance? Lucky for Greg, four-times married Uncle Gary is living on the Heffley’s couch. Maybe he’ll have some sound relationship advice?!?

Why I picked up the book: I really like the series. I couldn’t wait for the library to get copies, so my husband went out and bought it for me. Greg cracks me up and reminds me of my younger brother.

Why I finished it: The series is fast paced, funny, and makes you want to keep reading. I have a hard time not picturing the movie actors as the characters now. This one started out a bit slow but by the end, I wished there were another hundred pages.

I’d give it to: fans of the series (books or movies). Although they are easy reads, they are set in middle school. Great for reluctant readers.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Hard Luck (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #8)

Hard Luck (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, #8)It is hard to have a good day, when your best friend intentionally ruins your life. Rowley had the audacity to get a girlfriend and now Greg must carry his own heavy backpack, watch out for the bullies and neighbor dogs (including the “land mines”) on the walk to school, and find someone with nice handwriting to transcribe his homework! Now that Rowley and Abagail have moved to the couple’s table at lunch, Greg is looking for a friend to sit in Rowley’s seat and take over his “friend” duties. It should be easy, considering how many people have to eat in the hall since there aren’t enough seats in the cafeteria. Could Fregley be a good fit or more trouble that he is worth? Greg’s luck might change now that he has discovered an old Magic 8 ball hidden under Rodrick’s bed.

Why I picked up the book: I *LOVE* Greg. He reminds me of my younger brother. Everyone can recognize someone they knew in middle school. I bought the book the day it came out! I needed something to clear my head and make me laugh.

Why I finished it: Like the others, it is a quick, easy, but funny read and kept me interested.

I’d give it to: fans of the series and movies. Reluctant readers like my husband, who used to tease me about reading books that were too “easy” but once he watched (and loved) the movies, started reading the books too. There is nothing wrong with reading for fun and enjoyment.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Reviews by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)

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