Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book One

Humorous Book Combines Words and Cartoons

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Cover of Book One
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book One. Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS

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The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is a big hit with both boys and girls, ages 8 to 12. Billed as "a novel in cartoons," Book One is the diary of protagonist Greg Heffley. (Greg is upfront in wanting readers to know, "This is a JOURNAL, not a diary" and "...this was MOM's idea, not mine.") Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with its combination of words and cartoons, is particularly appealing to reluctant readers.

Summary of the Story

Greg is one of three children. According to Greg, his little brother, Manny, "never gets in trouble, even if he really deserves it," and his older brother Rodrick is always getting the best of Greg.

In his diary, Greg details his daily activities, starting with the first day of middle school and his warnings to readers about choosing where to sit in class. How does Greg feel about middle school? He thinks it's dumb because "You got kids like me who haven't hit their growth spurt yet mixed in with these gorillas who need to shave twice a day."

Whether it's dealing with bullying, his friend Rowley, homework, or family life, Greg is always busy trying to figure out the angle that will make things work out best for him. Author Jeff Kinney does a great job, in words and pictures, of illustrating the general goofiness that comes with being a self-centered adolescent, and the hilarious things that happen as a result.

Author and Illustrator Overview

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is Jeff Kinney's first book. While a student at the University of Maryland, Kinney had his own comic strip, "Igdoof," in the school newspaper. After college, he began writing Diary of a Wimpy Kid and putting it online in daily installments on FunBrain.com.

Then, publisher Harry N. Abrams signed Kinney to a multi-book deal to create a Diary of a Wimpy Kid series for the Amulet Books imprint. Despite the success of his books, Kinney has kept his day job working for an Internet publishing company. As far as how much the series is based on his life, Kinney said in an interview. that the books are a mix of his own family stories growing up, but with his own comedic spin on them.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: My Recommendation

The book's lined pages, plus Greg's writing and his pen and ink sketches and cartoons, make it seem like an authentic diary which adds greatly to the reader's enjoyment and relatability. If you are looking for a book with a main character who is a perfect role model for your child, this isn't it. But if you are looking for a funny book your kids will enjoy and identify with, grab a copy. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is best suited for tweens and younger teens. (Amulet Books, An Imprint of Harry N. Abrams, Inc. 2007. ISBN: 9780810993136)

More Diary of a Wimpy Kid Books

As of February 2017, there were eleven books in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, including titles like Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw.

In addition, if Greg's diary has inspired your kids to try writing and drawing, they will enjoy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Book, which includes writing and drawing prompts and lots of space for kids to fill. For information about the entire series, read Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Summaries and the New Book.

Sources: ComicMix interview, WimpyKid.com