Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway (paperback)
by Jeff Kinney
The Getaway is officially my favorite of the Wimpy Kid series! I made the mistake of just reading “the first few pages” while my class took the writing benchmark, and ended up finishing the entire book at school while giggling and distracting them in my silent testing environment. Luckily, most of my students have read at least one of the books in the series, so they could relate. Several have even read this newest book in the series, and they kept asking what part I was at.
Greg and his family go on vacation to a warm, sunny, tropical, Spanish-speaking resort for Christmas. From the time they left home for the airport, they all got themselves into dilemmas as a family and individually. Greg, as usual, is ignorant to his parents’ wishes and finds himself in awkward situations, but always finds his way out of them. This book was laughs from beginning to end.
What I liked about this book, besides the humor, is that I finally realized it is small moment after small moment, which serves as a great example for my students who are working on narratives based on small moments during Writer’s Workshop. I still can’t believe I was such a snob about this series, because it has turned out to be one of my favorites.
What I didn’t like about this book... I have nothing. There was a big hairy situation with a big hairy spider, but since it was all drawings, it didn’t bother me like I thought it would, although parts were a little cringe-worthy, like when the spider lost a leg.
Book 21 of 40
Invisible Emmie (paperback)
by Terri Libenson
AR Level 3.8, 2 points
Invisible Emmie is for the quiet, shy girls who are unsure of themselves and need to know there is hope for them. Emmie is basically an only child since her older siblings are adults, and she lives with very busy parents. She loves drawing, has a best friend, and a huge crush on a boy named Tyler Ross. She and her best friend write fake songs about their crushes, and her letter gets out, causing extreme embarrassment. Meanwhile, there is a perfect girl named Katie who is pretty, smart, confident, and also likes Tyler Ross. Emmie’s embarrassing situation causes her a lot of stress, but also causes her to grow as a person.
What I liked about this book was the humor that Libenson uses in both her drawings and her uncomfortable situations. Some of the humor is subtle, so an intelligent reader will have to think about the drawings and captions to understand, but it will give the reader a chuckle.
What I didn’t like about this book was the ending. It bugged me. I understand the meaning, but I think that 1) it will confuse younger readers, and 2) it didn’t make a lot of sense. Whose imaginary friend gets jealous???
Book 13 of summer 2017!
I decided since nearly every review would be nearly the same, I’d save us all some time and just write about the last 6 books in one post. Instead of writing about each book individually, I’ll just write the 5 things I enjoyed most about this series as a whole.
- They are FUNNY! There were several parts of each book where I was actually laughing out loud at Greg’s antics. I found myself taking pictures of the pages and sending them to my friend to convince her to read the series. I appreciate any book written for children that can entertain me the way this series did.
- The illustrations add to the humor, story, and readability of this book. Some of the illustrations go along with what is happening in the story, while others provide a little extra humor. I also like the way Kinney is consistent with his illustrations of characters.
- Greg, despite being egocentric (typical middle schooler), is likable (or even lovable). You want him to come out on top, even though he is clearly the sand in a teacher’s or parent’s bathing suit. He manipulates people and situations to get his own way, but that makes him believable and relatable as a character. I remember doing the same things when I was his age.
- They are fast reads. I’d say each book took me no more than 2 hours tops, although I never got to sit down and read one beginning to end. Some books took several days due to the holidays and my own children. If my students are looking for a fast read, these are great recommendations, because they are also very engaging.
- The AR level is in the fifth grade range. I’m not HUGE on reading level, because I think students should read for enjoyment, and book level often limits their choices. However, it is a bonus that there are inferences to be made and higher level vocabulary in these books. There are also moral dilemmas that students would have to think about in order to relate to the story.
I think it goes without saying that I enjoyed the series, and I do take back my snobbery. I didn’t think this series had as much to offer, but I am now eating my words! I recommend it to students, but I also think any adult who can relate to children would also enjoy it.
Cabin Fever Book 26 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)
The Third Wheel Book 27 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)
Hard Luck Book 28 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)
The Long Haul Book 29 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)
Old School Book 30 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)
Double Down Book 31 of 40 (40 Book Challenge)
Fortunately, the Milk (paperback)
by Neil Gaiman
AR Level 4.3, 1 point
Fortunately, the Milk tells the story of a forgetful father who is put in charge of his two children while his wife is on a business trip, and he has to go get milk for his children’s cereal and his tea, but he takes a long time to go to the corner and pick it up. He is called out by his children for taking so long, so he tells what happened… he was in a hot air balloon with a stegosaurus and they went on a long adventure that included an angry volcano and aliens. When he finishes his story, the children notice various clues in the kitchen that may be their father’s inspiration for his story.
What I liked about this book was that it was funny. There were things in the story that might pass over the heads of the children reading it. I enjoy Gaiman’s sarcasm and wit, and I wonder sometimes if his children’s books are really for children, or the child inside of a grown up.
What I didn’t like about this book… Well, this was a cute story that I had a hard time getting into. I wish I had appreciated it more. Maybe I was just really tired each time I sat down to read it. It was one of those that should have taken me 45 minutes to read, but instead, I finished it after a week. There was a lot going on, and I couldn’t relate to the characters, but it was one of those books where you don’t really have to. It just didn’t grab me.