Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mel's Mouthful Reviews Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

I have to admit that when The Wimpy Kid books first arrived in the bookstores, I told my children that there was no way they were going to read them. It just looked "dodgy".

"Dodgy" is a word we use often in our house:

* when the children see someone suspicious across the road they tell me "there is someone dodgy on the other side of the road Mom, lock the door" - which pretty much covers almost anyone who walks past our house after we recently did a Stranger Danger study unit.

* sometimes the children refer to their food as being "dodgy" - though this is normally when Dad makes food unsupervised. In fact I remember one weekend where I went to attend a workshop and Chad crying and saying "What are we going to eat? We're going to starve."

* things are "dodgy" when it's unidentifiable, uncertain, a little suspicious looking, dirty, strange or just plain odd.

So The Diary of a Wimpy Kid was a dodgy book because I didn't want my kids using the word wimp or even consider someone a wimp because of who they are or what they do. Little did I know that this is not at all what these books are like. In fact this book is often hysterically and uncomfortably close to the truth about family life. An embarrassing mom and dad, a weird younger brother who does all the wrong things at the wrong time, an overbearing bossy brother and the challenges of peer pressure and school.

I must admit that I first watched The Diary of a Wimpy Kid on the big screen and I loved it - and so did my 71 year old mother (though I probably shouldn't put her age in here, she says it's not polite to mention a ladies age. I wish my boys knew that, as they still haven't stopped telling everyone they meet how old I am.  They also enjoy telling people very proudly that their dad is 2 years younger than their mother.) And so when Penguin Books South Africa gave me a copy of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel, I was thrilled. Of course I had to wait for all three boys to finish reading the book first, before they would even let me get my hands on it.

This time Greg is at middle school and he's on the hunt for a dance partner for the dreaded Valentine's Day dance with hysterical consequences. Eventually he decides to partner with his best friend Rowley Jefferson to secure a date for himself. We all know the feeling of trying to find the right date for such an important event. Taking a date equivocates with value. It seems all else fades in the pursuit a a partner - initially its all about the perfect girl till eventually it is reduced to anyone who is willing. This is the 7th in the series and with his usual skill at humour Jeff Kinney had me snickering and giggling.

It was highly entertaining and because the book has so many illustrations it really was a quick read - I don't think I took longer than an hour.

This book really is suitable for beginner readers and up (or should I just say 40 and get it out there). It's also a great tool to encourage journalling. My children enjoy journalling and every time they finish one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid  books- they grab hold of their journal and start to avidly write and draw. Also the fact that there are so many illustrations, definitely appeals to my youngest "because it has pictures and the writing is not too small"
And I know that some of you are grumbling as you read this saying: "but my child doesn't like to read, I can't even get him to take books out of the library - well never fear - Mel is near (sounds like a superhero tag line that could work - if I only had a cape!) - if he doesn't like to read why not try the audio version - after listening to this on audio first, books will follow.

If you have any Wimpy Kid fans you can even watch Jeff Kinney(the author)present a cartoon class on drawing Greg. And in fact if you browse a bit there is loads of You Tube videos to watch and share with your Wimpy Kid enthusiasts. And for even more enjoyment, if you haven't had enough already, there is even an official Wimpy Kid website: http://www.wimpykid.com/

We would like to thank Penguin Books South Africa for giving us this book to review.  We did not get paid for this review, and all the thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are entirely ours.

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