Diary of Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck By Jeff Kinney
Published by Puffin Books
Book eight in the publishing sensation Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is humorous, enjoyable and easy to read. Whilst the setting is clearly American (lunchtime school cafeteria, sidewalk, trash etc) the themes of growing up and friendship are universal. In this book Greg Heffley’s best friend Rowland, has got himself a girlfriend and Greg struggles with making new friends, learning how to make choices, living with consequences and growing in interpersonal understanding.
It’s easy to identify with Greg’s middle school angst, and using the diary format complete with amusing cartoon sketches, Kinney’s touch is very light with his quirky characters and casual writing style. The diary format allows the reader to enter Greg’s head, and we get to see his ego-centric ‘dark’ scheming side –the one that we are likely to recognise in ourselves but rarely admit to. Greg’s idiosyncratic antics to use other people for his own advantage ultimately back fire in the end (it’s hard to compete with a friend who can chew with this belly button!).
Hard Luck is a satisfying stand alone read, but would be enriched by the build up of attachment to the characters from following the series. It’s packaged to look like a private diary outside (complete with torn paper pictures apparently sticky taped to the cover) and the inside’s ruled pages share equal billing between Kinney’s pen and ink style sketches and ‘handwritten’ font. This series is so popular, it’s guaranteed to get the kids reading – even if it’s just to keep up with their friends!
A winning combination for easily digestible amusement that will also entice the most reluctant of readers.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author & Illustrator: Jeff Kinney
Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
Publisher: Puffin Books
ISBN: 9 780143 308089
Age: 7 +