We read to our kids every night – it’s something that they now expect and want – which is great. They’re becoming readers. For our eight year old boy, we try to balance the book selections from historical, to autobiographical, to action/adventure, some mystery and last but not least – funny, goofy stories too. Reading is reading
One series of books that both my son and I really enjoy equally are the Wimpy Kid books. Author Jeff Kinney has penned a line of fictional journals based on the misadventures of a lazy, selfish, manipulative but ultimately very smart and self-aware seventh grader Greg Heffley.
The books are slightly subversive – with a somewhat healthy skepticism of authority and a subtle critique of the hypocritical and inconsistent nature of parental rules. But they’re really good – on the New York Times Best Seller list for children’s books for 18 weeks as of May 2009. And they’re laugh out loud funny with simple but effective illustrations and passages that bring me to tears. I find my son likes to re-read the sections that make me crack-up as we laugh together.
Just last week on Oct. 12, the fourth in the series was released Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Some parents might find the occasional PG language and attitude of the protagonist objectionable, but my feeling is that, in the end, our wimpy kid learns valuable life lessons that resonate meaningfully with the reader.
The first book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid came out in 2007, with the others coming out in early parts of 2008 (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules) and 2009 (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw). I’ve found that my son, along with other children, devour them quickly, sometimes in just one day – which is a testament to the skillful writing and story telling delivered by Kinney.
The story first started on FunBrain, but split it into a series when the author decided to publish it as a book. It’s been made public that the books are being made into a 20th Century Fox movie slated to be released in April 2010.