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Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1 Hardcover – April 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Kinney's popular Web comic, which began in 2004, makes its way to print as a laugh-out-loud "novel in cartoons," adapted from the series. Middle school student Greg Heffley takes readers through an academic year's worth of drama. Greg's mother forces him to keep a diary ("I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I specifically told her to get one that didn't say 'diary' on it"), and in it he loosely recounts each day's events, interspersed with his comic illustrations. Kinney has a gift for believable preteen dialogue and narration (e.g., "Don't expect me to be all 'Dear Diary' this and 'Dear Diary' that"), and the illustrations serve as a hilarious counterpoint to Greg's often deadpan voice. The hero's utter obliviousness to his friends and family becomes a running joke. For instance, on Halloween, Greg and his best friend, Rowley, take refuge from some high school boys at Greg's grandmother's house; they taunt the bullies, who then T.P. her house. Greg's journal entry reads, "I do feel a little bad, because it looked like it was gonna take a long time to clean up. But on the bright side, Gramma is retired, so she probably didn't have anything planned for today anyway." Kinney ably skewers familiar aspects of junior high life, from dealing with the mysteries of what makes someone popular to the trauma of a "wrestling unit" in gym class. His print debut should keep readers in stitches, eagerly anticipating Greg's further adventures. Ages 8-13. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5–8—Greg Heffley has actually been on the scene for more than two years. Created by an online game developer, he has starred in a Web book of the same name on www.funbrain.com since May 2004. This print version is just as engaging. Kinney does a masterful job of making the mundane life of boys on the brink of adolescence hilarious. Greg is a conflicted soul: he wants to do the right thing, but the constant quest for status and girls seems to undermine his every effort. His attempts to prove his worthiness in the popularity race (he estimates he's currently ranked 52nd or 53rd) are constantly foiled by well-meaning parents, a younger and older brother, and nerdy friends. While Greg is not the most principled protagonist, it is his very obliviousness to his faults that makes him such an appealing hero. Kinney's background as a cartoonist is apparent in this hybrid book that falls somewhere between traditional prose and graphic novel. It offers some of the same adventures as the Web book, but there are enough new subplots to entertain Funbrain followers. This version is more pared down, and the pace moves quickly. The first of three installments, it is an excellent choice for reluctant readers, but more experienced readers will also find much to enjoy and relate to in one seventh grader's view of the everyday trials and tribulations of middle school.—Kim Dare, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Amulet Books; 1 edition (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810993139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810993136
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,475 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Jeff Kinney is an online game developer and designer, and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. In 2009, Jeff was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts with his wife and their two sons.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

388 of 414 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on August 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
As a (more mature) 13 year old, I thought this book was genuinely funny. However, unlike younger kids, I've already established what is right and wrong. Cheating, lying, manipulating, and acting dumb "just to get less work" is all in this book, and when my younger eight year old brother reads this, I get paranoid of what exactly he's picking up. He doesn't seem to want to go to a gifted program at school, thinks less of school, and I think it is because of this book! To older audiences, Greg is a very interesting character (which is the prevelant reason why the series is so popular) but he is one of the most irresponsible fictional characters I have come across in a long time. And since the story is told from HIS viewpoint, it even makes it worse! His mind thinks of the all the previously mentioned things to be perfectly fine. I would absoluetly not recommend this book to...more vulnerble kids.

On the plus side, the novel IS truely funny, with its charming digital drawings and witty main character- who keeps the story lively (ignoring his bad influence) throughout the entire book.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Jordan K. Henrichs on August 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
If there was an "IT" book of 2008 in the school where I teach 5th grade, forget about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows; it had to be Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Book orders could not send copies fast enough. Book stores could not restock their shelves quickly enough. Everywhere I turned I was met by a student with his or her nose buried in its pages. So naturally, I had to see what all the fuss was about.

Greg Heffley is your everyday, run-of-the-mill, middle school "wimp". Sure, someday he's going to amount to something big, but for now, he's "stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons." Greg's journal, not "diary", but "journal", takes us through the hilarious events that make up Greg's days in his first year of middle school. Lucky for us, whether it's avoiding his older brother Rodrick, or abusing his best friend Rowley, Greg's days are never short on laughs.

I can't remember the last time I laughed this hard when reading a book. There are laughs on every page, literally. Greg's mudslinging student council posters, Greg and Rowley's failed attempt at a haunted house, the students' wrestling unit in PE ("muscles are gross"), and Christmas time at the Heffley home. Situations like these that Greg finds himself in are comical enough, but it's his voice and commentary that sets this book apart. Jeff Kinney has cleverly captured the inner workings of a middle school student, and because of this book's popularity, it's obvious that students connect with Greg.

However, that's also what scares me about this book. I'm afraid that Kinney is too smart for his own good and without realizing it, has created a lovable character that advocates laziness and using your best friend for his family's money and his video games.
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77 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Noah D. Karchmer on December 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I learned of this book in my University of Maryland alumni magazine and I'm very glad I did. The author, Jeff Kinney, wrote a popular comic strip called "Igdoof" in the early 90's for the Maryland student newspaper, the Diamondback. His comic alone made me look forward to each new issue of the paper and I continued to seek it out even after I graduated to read Kinney's comic.

From what I understand, he fought to get the strip syndicated after he graduated, but it never happened- presumably because his somewhat simplistic and crude artistic style is nothing like what you see in the daily comics sections. I had often wondered what became of Kinney, whose considerable talent should not be going to waste, so I was happy to pick this book up once I discovered it.

The book, likely written for kids at or above a fifth or sixth grade reading level, was better reading for a 37 year old than I could have possibly imagined. Kinney picks up right where he left off with the Igdoof strip with the very same humor and art that made me enjoy it so much. The book was laugh-out-loud funny throughout and I would recommend it to not only kids, but anyone who can appreciate humor books. I wish Jeff all the success in the world and look forward to reading more of his works-- he has really found his calling.
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Format: Hardcover
The world has not yet invented a method of finding the best webcomics currently available on the Internet for kids. So basically, for every twenty low-quality/poorly thought out amalgamations of crap, you get one bright shining star. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," the webcomic, was one such star. The only conclusion I can really draw at this point is that somebody at Abrams is a friggin' genius for plucking the comic up and making it into a book. Now normally I don't like to separate titles into "girl books" and "boy books", but Jeff Kinney has written such a marvelous "boy book" that for every parent that walks in the door of my library I'm going to be cramming this title into their arms. Heck, I'll slip it into their purses if I have to. This book is going to reach its intended audience whether I have to wrestle skeptical parents to the floor with it clamped firmly in my teeth. Want to transfer your Captain Underpants lovers from graphic novels to fiction? This book won't do that. It's just something that every single person will get a kick out of.

First things first. Boys do not have diaries. Girls have diaries. Let's get that straight cause things could get messy if we don't. Basically, what we have here are the gathered thoughts and memories of Greg Haffley. Greg's got a pretty average life, all things considered. His older brother is a jerk, his younger brother annoying, his best friend a doofus, and his parents perfect dweebs. To top it all off, Greg's been thrown into his first year of middle school and things are really weird. Suddenly friendships are shifting and Greg's not sure who he wants to be. Add in some haunted houses, wrestling, downhill games involving bodily injury, forbidden cheese, and basic family fears and you've got yourself one heckuva debut.
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