The first book in the phenomenally successful series Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney.
Jeff Kinney is an online game developer and designer, and a number 1 New York Times bestselling author. In 2009, Jeff was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts with his wife and their two sons.
Kinney's popular Web comic, which began in 2004, makes its way to print as a laugh-out-loud "novel in cartoons," adapted from the series. Middle school student Greg Heffley takes readers through an academic year's worth of drama. Greg's mother forces him to keep a diary ("I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I specifically told her to get one that didn't say `diary' on it"), and in it he loosely recounts each day's events, interspersed with his comic illustrations. Kinney has a gift for believable preteen dialogue and narration (e.g., "Don't expect me to be all `Dear Diary' this and `Dear Diary' that"), and the illustrations serve as a hilarious counterpoint to Greg's often deadpan voice. The hero's utter obliviousness to his friends and family becomes a running joke. For instance, on Halloween, Greg and his best friend, Rowley, take refuge from some high school boys at Greg's grandmother's house; they taunt the bullies, who then T.P. her house. Greg's journal entry reads, "I do feel a little bad, because it looked like it was gonna take a long time to clean up. But on the bright side, Gramma is retired, so she probably didn't have anything planned for today anyway." Kinney ably skewers familiar aspects of junior high life, from dealing with the mysteries of what makes someone popular to the trauma of a "wrestling unit" in gym class. His print debut should keep readers in stitches, eagerly anticipating Greg's further adventures. Ages 8-13. (Apr.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5-8-Greg Heffley has actually been on the scene for more than two years. Created by an online game developer, he has starred in a Web book of the same name on www.funbrain.com since May 2004. This print version is just as engaging. Kinney does a masterful job of making the mundane life of boys on the brink of adolescence hilarious. Greg is a conflicted soul: he wants to do the right thing, but the constant quest for status and girls seems to undermine his every effort. His attempts to prove his worthiness in the popularity race (he estimates he's currently ranked 52nd or 53rd) are constantly foiled by well-meaning parents, a younger and older brother, and nerdy friends. While Greg is not the most principled protagonist, it is his very obliviousness to his faults that makes him such an appealing hero. Kinney's background as a cartoonist is apparent in this hybrid book that falls somewhere between traditional prose and graphic novel. It offers some of the same adventures as the Web book, but there are enough new subplots to entertain Funbrain followers. This version is more pared down, and the pace moves quickly. The first of three installments, it is an excellent choice for reluctant readers, but more experienced readers will also find much to enjoy and relate to in one seventh grader's view of the everyday trials and tribulations of middle school.-Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
'[This] 'novel in cartoons' should keep readers in stitches, eagerly anticipating Gregs further adventures.' Publishers Weekly. 'Laugh-out-loud... lots of fun throughout.' Booklist.