Rodrick Rules — "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" Series
Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the second book in the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Gregory "Greg" Heffley's mother buys him a second diary, which he calls a journal. From the beginning to the end of it, Greg has a difficult time with his older brother, Rodrick, who is a bully. After Rodrick finds Greg's first journal, Greg gets it back and hides in the bathroom at his grandfather's retirement center to keep Rodrick from getting it again. Too late, Greg realizes he is in the women's bathroom. Rodrick holds this embarrassing secret over Greg and forces him to do many things because of it.
Greg spends a lot of time getting out of things. To get out of swim practice, he hides in the locker room. To get rid of the Cheese Touch, which he got at the end of the last journal and makes classmates run from him, he gives it to an unsuspecting new kid at the school. He attempts to get out of studying by sitting next to smart kids and out of book reports by writing about short stories instead of books. He is OK with copying other people's papers, but won't buy an assignment from anyone unless he is desperate. The only person he can't trick or bully is his brother Rodrick.
The one time Greg compliments his brother is when they have to rake leaves for their grandmother and are being paid per bag. Rodrick shows Greg how to only partially fill the bags so they run out of bags before the job is done and are paid for each bag. When Rodrick throws a party because their parents are gone for the weekend, he locks Greg in the basement for the duration but then makes Greg help him clean after it is over. The next time their parents leave town, the boys have to stay with their grandfather.
Because Greg won't videotape Rodrick's band at the talent show, Rodrick tells everyone about Greg's embarrassing secret. Instead of being teased and humiliated at school, guys treat him well, and he is suddenly popular. The original story that Rodrick told was placed in the women's bathroom in a retirement home but as one person tells another, the place becomes the bathroom in the high school girls' locker room.
In the end, Greg realizes that Rodrick isn't nice to him, but Greg doesn't want his brother to fail science because he didn't turn in a science project; therefore, Greg does the project for him.
When Rodrick gives Greg a ride home in his van, Greg is tossed around the back of it because he has to sit with Rodrick's band instruments. Greg prays that the instruments don't hit him in the head, but in this use, it really refers to "hoping" versus a prayer to God. There is mention that the family goes to church. Greg forgives Rowley for ratting on him when a situation turns to Greg's advantage after the truth is told.
Other Belief Systems
Greg writes a paper that includes the evolution of people versus the evolution of a moose. He also illustrates the evolution. People get arms, and the moose get horns that are worthless in Greg's opinion.
Mild words, such as jerk, sissy, dumb, geek, stupid, and freaked out, are used in a derogatory way.
After Greg calls Rodrick a jerk for making him sit in the back of the van, they get into a fight on the front lawn. Their mother makes them draw a picture of what they did wrong so they won't do it again. Rodrick draws a picture of pushing Greg over a cliff to a waiting shark.
Greg is relieved that Rowley, his best friend, sits on the tin-foil ball with toothpicks sticking out of it that Greg's younger brother made for Greg. Greg's mother wouldn't let him throw it away, and he was afraid he might sit on it himself some day. He does not empathize with Rowley's pain.
Greg slugs Rowley for suggesting that they could be "diary twins" after Rowley buys a journal. Greg justifies treating other boys at his school poorly because he isn't big or tall and doesn't have many victims from which to choose.
Greg's male classmates see him as a hero because of the rumor that he not only gained access to the high school girls' locker room, but also was there for some time. In actuality, he accidentally entered the women's restroom in his grandfather's retirement center.
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Readability Age Range
8 to 12
Amulet Books, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc.