So I'm once again amazed at what the master of getting young boys to read, Mr. Jeff Kinney, has done with his latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid installment Dog Days. Especially my young boy. In fact, I'm going to be very upset when he finishes reading it because for the last couple of days it's the only thing we can use on The Boy for motivation that works. Okay,let's be honest here - when I say motivation I mean threats.
"If you don't get dressed and downstairs for breakfast in five minutes, you lose Diary of a Wimpy Kid for a week!"
"If you go upstairs for bed right NOW you can read Diary of a Wimpy Kid for an extra fifteen minutes."
"The bus ride isn't so bad. Remember, you have Diary of a Wimpy Kid to read!"
I swear, when I have the time I'm going to analyze every word and picture in those books and try to figure out what it is exactly about it that connects with boys (and I assume girls too since it is such a mega best seller it can't be just boys buying it). One of the things I've heard when others have been trying to figure the magic out is that the book doesn't preach to the reader. But neither do a lot of well written middle grade books. And the humour helps. Humour ALWAYS helps. But there are a lot of funny books out there. What's special about this one? Maybe it's the main character. I mean Greg is kind of a rude obnoxious kid. The way he treats his best friend Rawley borders on bullying sometimes. But the author shows all of his faults, doesn't apologize for them, he is what he is with no judgement about it. And maybe that's what every little boy (and girl) wants. To be accepted and loved for who they are even if they're not very nice sometimes or if they're doing something that a parent doesn't think is good for them. Does it really matter that my son gets obsessed with video games to the point where he could (if not ejected by his parents) spend the whole summer downstairs in the dark? The Boy cracked up at that in the opening pages of Dog Days. He IDENTIFIED. He's a kid. Kids get obsessed with things. Kids get lazy. Kids aren't nice to other kids sometimes. Kids are kids.
And that is what Mr. Kinney has created in the pages of his books. A real kid. Even if in cartoon form.
If there are any critics of these books still out there all I can say is: "Come over to my house. My son is reading. And loving it."
That is pure gold.