Monday, March 8, 2010

Middle School Picks

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw
by Jeff Kinney.
Amulet Books, 2009.
217 pages.

Funnier than the first two installments, this third book in the series is Jeff Kinney at his comic best. The plot line follows Greg Heffley during the school year; Kinney's illustrations are laugh out loud funny and goofy. The author has tapped into the middle school brain of a nerdy, wimpy kid. Greg and his best friend Rawley have grand plans for the year--they put together a time capsule and bury it in Rawley's yard. The note on the outside reads: "Do not open until time travel is possible." Just a few days later, in withdrawal stages from junk food, Greg digs it back up to retrieve the $3.00 he buried--he buys chips, a soda, and candy. So much for the time capsule.

Greg is now responsible for doing his own laundry, and in typical teen boy style, he decides he has enough clothes to last the entire school year if he wears everything in his closet. Late in the year, he is running out of clothes, especially underwear! He finally breaks down and wears the last pair--a pair of Wonder Woman underoos that were given to him at Christmas as a gag gift from his Uncle Charlie. Imagine the giggles when Greg's pants fall down and his underoos are exposed to the world!

Greg spends every waking moment planning how to say "hi" to a girl he likes. He never does get up the nerve, but it's pitifully funny to see him squirm. Greg's dad is on a mission to "de-wimpify" his son and it includes sending Greg to military school. Greg needs a plan and he needs one fast! Follow the hysterical adventures of Greg Heffley--your average wimpy kid. The movie of the first book is due out March 19--if it can capture Greg's sense of humor, it should be the first hit of the movie season. Recommended for all collections, grades 4 and up. Suitable for high school readers who like humor.

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