Monday, March 29, 2010

Middle School Pick


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
by Jeff Kinney
Amulet Books, 2009.
217 pages

The fourth book in the Wimpy Kid series is a real joy. Jeff Kinney keeps the laughter coming with Greg Heffley's summer vacation--which turns out to be no real vacation at all. Greg recounts the grisly story of the muddy hand which can travel mysteriously across the United States and sneak up on unsuspecting middle school boys and kill them! His fear of the muddy hand causes much anxiety and sleep loss, until he finds a way to sleep with his entire face under the covers. He spends one night sleeping in the bathtub with all the bathroom lights on. Ridley, Greg's older brother, is his devious, bullying self. Greg's mom tries to start a Reading is Fun club for all the neighborhood children, but only has one member by the second meeting--Greg, of course!

Greg is terrified to go to the public pool, not because he's afraid of water, but because he's afraid of having to enter the pool area through the men's showers! Greg says, "The first time I walked through the men's locker room at the town pool was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life." The illustration with this statement shows really hairy men showering in a "common" shower and Greg looking mortified. Kinney's illustrations are spot on, and readers who enjoy a good joke will love this book.

Recommended for all collections, grades 4-up. Recommended for reluctant readers.

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