Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
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|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: It's summer holidays for our diarist - cue awkward trips to the pool, worries about bad birthday presents, naivety about money... A subtle and clever entry to the series.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 240||Date: October 2009|
It is a truth universally acknowledged that school summer holidays are only enjoyable if you want to enjoy summer. Greg here doesn't want to notice it, and would prefer to spend his days curtains drawn, face glued to late night TV or a computer game, hand either clicking away at a controller or shovelling in snacks. The last thing he needs, then, is his mother, on a family togetherness trip, and on a budget, with bad ideas of what Greg should be doing instead.
Here then, the wimpy kid is not so much wimpy, or picked on, as misunderstood by his parents. He can't work out why people won't invest hundreds of dollars in his get-money-the-lazy-way schemes when he has a debt to pay off. They don't fathom how embarrassing a junior reading circle for the neighbourhood is.
What follows is a catalogue of failures. The midnight horror movie that becomes not much of a secret, or a success; the various trips out with dad, mum, or the whole family, that are generally quite significant failures; and the watermelon seed that does not become a watermelon growing in Greg's belly (though better to be on the safe side...).
I found this a much more sustained book than Rodrick Rules. It's a typically atypical school holiday, and throughout beats of the story echo when we least expect them. It comes across as slightly scattershot, random, but allows for the mildest form of absurdity, as seemingly insignificant details have great bearing out of the blue.
The wit coming through the digital stick cartoons still seems borrowed from The Simpsons school of comedy timing, with an instant cut-away to sarcastically prove our diarist narrator's point, or elsewhere say a thousand words in a dozen lines.
I remain unsure of the recommendation on the back that this is for the 9+ audience, as I think anybody of primary school age would be perfectly happy and safe with its contents. The other side of that is that the pictorial essence of the story, and the quickness of the read, factor for a book that won't remain on the shelves once people reach secondary school.
But with this comedy that has simple joys in convoluted intricacy worn most lightly, Kinney definitely has a further hit under his belt. Known to millions as the yellow one it'll be known as a favourite to many too. It hides its morals and life lessons very subtly behind a very accessible sense of humour and a very accessible format - someone buying for the reluctant reader may also relish that thought.
Term-time is cause for revenge against teachers in The Dunderheads by Paul Fleischman and David Roberts, which you should enjoy.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney is in the Bookbag's Christmas Gift Recommendations 2009.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney at Amazon.com.
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