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ERIC Number: EJ940122
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun-1
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0362-8930
Middle Grade Tell-Alls: Wimpy Kid Read-Alikes
Giffard, Sue
School Library Journal, v57 n6 p44-49 Jun 2011
On the "New York Times" Children's Best Sellers list for more than two years, Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" still causes groups of children to enthusiastically exclaim that it's the "best book ever." What is it that kids love about Greg Heffley and his escapades? Why are they overcome with laughter while simply trying to explain his humor? First, the format and immediacy of the storytelling make children feel as though Greg Heffley is a real kid just like them and that they are reading his actual diary. Second, Kinney presents his antihero as a not-very-popular, unexceptional kid who is always getting into trouble. The humor of these situations is immensely appealing, and Greg's role as an unreliable narrator allows readers to believe that they are a bit superior--they certainly would not fall for his stunts. Third, the child-friendly layout and the ratio of illustrations to text make the books accessible for kids whose reading skills are still shaky. Perhaps the most significant aspect of "Wimpy Kid" is the relationship between the text and illustrations in telling the story and how, together, they constitute a somewhat different and relatively new notion of a book for middle-grade readers. While many libraries have plenty of wonderful books with humor and great storytelling, many of these titles contain too much novelistic detail to be appreciated by those youngsters who have just discovered the joy of reading. This article provides a list of hybrids, all chosen with an eye on immediacy and realism, humor, and readability, that can help fill that gap. (Contains 4 online resources.)
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Publication Type: Book/Product Reviews; Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A