Diary of a Wimpy Kid
This humorous book is the first in the " Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney and is published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, also known as Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal, is an illustrated novel written for kids ages 8 to 12. The age range reflects readability and not necessarily content appropriateness.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Greg Heffley decides to keep a journal, not only because his mother wants him to, but also because he wants something he can give to people who ask him questions once he is rich and famous. In handwritten type and through the use of cartoon illustrations, Greg details his day-to-day life as a middle school student and gives his opinion on bullying, why girls like boys, where to sit on the first day of class, how to draw cartoons and numerous other topics, such as the cheese touch.
The cheese touch is a middle school ailment similar to cooties that comes from touching an old piece of cheese that rests beneath the basketball hoop on his school's playground. If you touch it, you have the cheese touch until you touch someone else. Then they have it.
At home, Greg is a middle child. Greg's older brother, Rodrick, plays practical jokes on him; Greg thinks his younger brother, Manny, is spoiled. He believes that his parents don't understand him. They do unforgivable things, such as telling him to stop playing video games and go outside. When that happens, Greg goes to someone else's house and plays video games.
Greg's best friend is Rowley. They became friends because Greg felt sorry for Rowley. All the mean things that Rodrick does to Greg, Greg does to Rowley, along with a few ideas of his own. One day, Greg goes too far and lets Rowley take the blame for chasing kindergartners all the way home, instead of walking them home, as a Safety Patrol person should. As a result, Rowley stops hanging out with him. Greg does not understand why. But later, when his classmates ask how the cheese under the basketball hoop disappeared and Greg knows that a group of older bullies made Rowley eat it, he tells his classmates that he (Greg) threw the cheese away. Although his class now flees his cheese touch, he and Rowley resume hanging out together.
Other Belief Systems
Greg thanks his "lucky stars" that he is on the other side of the gym from the girls because his wrestling outfit doesn't completely cover him during wrestling matches in gym class.
A lot of mild variations of words, such as jerk, stupid, dumb, dork, heck, shoot, freak, and butt, are used. Even milder expressions, such as stinky poo, screw loose, and suck it up, are also employed. Greg gives his friend Rowley noogies for asking if he wants to play instead of saying hang out.
A side comment is made that girls may like boys because they have cute butts. Younger brother Manny brings Rodrick's magazine with a woman in a bikini lying on a car to show-and-tell at his day care.
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Readability Age Range
8 to 12
Amulet Books, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
Nickelodeon's Kids' Choice Awards, 2009; Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children's Book Award, 2009