Is Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney Worth a Fight?

You know you're a kiddie lit geek when you're arguing with an eight-year-old over who gets to read the library books first. St. Nick snagged this one, I sneaked it while he was playing his Nintendo DS, and he sneaked it back later. I, gracefully I think, allowed him to finish it (see, I have learned to take turns) and then I got my chance to read it.

The illustrations, the voice, the story all catapulted me into life as a skinny middle school boy. This is possibly the most fun I've had with a book since I slipped Captain Underpants into the library bag (that one I wouldn't allow Nicholas to read until I'd "previewed and approved" it).

Ultimately, this is a story about friendship and integrity, and here the protagonist is an antihero of sorts - modeling these qualities (realistically) via negativa. All Greg's plans to do evil, be popular, avoid responsibility, backfire. But it's not a downer - the book is hysterically funny. Greg joins the school's Wizard of Oz production as a tree, in hopes of beaning "Dorothy" with an apple; he becomes a safety patrol officer to get out of pre-algebra. So many of Greg's great ideas are horrendously and innocently flawed. Much like the child I had to ask for permission to read his book.

The same child who couldn't understand, as previously mentioned, why his Orchestra Instruments teacher thought the drawing he did during class was inappropriately ghoulish ...

"You don't think an alien pulling his head off is a little too scary?"

Exasperated sigh and eye roll followed by, "He's not pulling his head off, Mom. He's putting his head back on."

Ah. I see.