Sunday, May 5, 2013

Books for Kids Who Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid

It's about that time for another post on books to read after Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  These combination graphic novels/chapter books are so appealing, and I have to admit, that when well done, even I am a fan.  It is very hard to walk the line between clever and stupid, and thankfully these authors stay on the funny side.

I know some parents continue to fret about these books and whether they are considered reading.  Let me tell you that if they get your kids excited about books and they don't want to put the story down, that is reading.  And the more they read, the better they get at it and the more they will interject some variety into their choices- I promise!  So if your child is so inclined, here are some very clever books, by some very talented authors that will get your child excited about the power of a story.

Don't forget to check out my earlier posts with more suggestions for kids who like Diary of a Wimpy Kid books: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Blessing or Curse? and Kids Summer Reading List

Title:       Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Author:   Stephan Pastis

Target:    Grades 3-6

Series:     Not yet

What this book is about:
Our main character is Timmy Failure, yes you got that right.  The family name was once Fayleure, but somebody changed it.  Timmy is the founder of the Total Failure Detective Agency.  Detective work is a competitive business in this town and Timmy’s arch nemesis Corinna Corrina is always one step ahead of him.  Between trying to solve cases, moving into a new apartment. attempting not to have to repeat a grade in school, and managing a 1,500 lb. polar bear, Timmy has his hands full.

Why I love this book:
Ok, let me say that if you are not a fan of deadpan humor, than this book is not for you or your child.  Pastis nails Timmy’s character and his comic timing is impeccable.  My oldest son called this Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets Calvin and Hobbs.  High praise from him indeed!

I have to say that while this book has absolutely funny laugh out loud moments, it also has an undercurrent of a sad reality.  Timmy’s life is really difficult and his bravado gets him through some tough times.  I think this elevates the book from simply funny fare to something more.   However, on a happy note, Timmy does have people in his life who love him and are rooting for him so we can laugh at the funny stuff without feeling bad.

Who this book is for:
This is a good book for reluctant readers because of the short chapters and illustrations on every page.  The humor is stylized, so for kids who get it, it will be very funny.  My kids would actually run into the family room and read passages of the book to me that they just couldn’t keep to themselves.

Final thoughts:
Mistakes were made, but not in the writing of this book (see ... a little play on the title, in case you missed it.)

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog - at no cost to you.  Yipe!

Title:       Stick Dog

Author:   Tom Watson

Target:    Grades 3-5

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
This is the lighthearted adventure of Stick Dog and his friends Karen, Mutt, Stripes and Poo Poo (not the gross kind, because he is a POO-dle.)  They are on a quest to get their paws on the hamburgers that a family is grilling in a local park.  While well intentioned, Stick Dog’s friends are not the brightest pups in the kennel, and Stick Dog must come up with a plan to get them fed.

Why I love this book:
I was a little reticent of this one at first.  However, I really liked the humor.   It is not actually gross, but in fact a little sophisticated.  Stick Dog plays the straight man in this story to his less than intelligent, but well meaning friends.  As they chase squirrels and propose outlandish plans, Stick Dog keeps them on track for their goal - diner!

While the drawings in the book are in fact stick figures, they work well with the story and are at times quite charming.  Very reminiscent of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid format.

Who this book is for:
Good for reluctant readers because of the format, which is not overwhelming.  This will be a quick but entertaining read for strong readers.

Final thoughts:
I can’t wait for the next set of adventures from Stick Dog and his friends.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Stick Dog  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog - at no cost to you.  Yipe!

Title:       The 13-Story Treehouse

Author:   Andy Griffiths

Target:    Grades 2-5

Series:     This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
Well, how do I describe this book?  Andy and Terry live in a - you guessed it - 13-story treehouse.  This treehouse is replete with a see-through swimming pool,  a lemonade fountain, a vegetable vaporizer and marshmallow shooting machine.  Really, what is not to love.  The story, if you can call it that, is that Andy and Terry must deliver a book to their publisher (yes they are kids) by 5 o’clock the next day, which they have not yet started.  And, it appears that they if their crazy happenstance's continue, they may never find the time to start this book.

Why I love this book:
Andy Griffiths is well known for his ridiculous stories, and this one holds up the tradition admirably.  While not really a story, it is more of a series of adventures that Andy and Terry encounter or more to the point - create.  The adventures are outlandish and imaginative and I think kids will really enjoy them.  Nothing is particularly gross, which is nice, but the stories border more on the absurd.

I also think kids will love the idea of a fantastical treehouse.  Who hasn’t hoped for something this cool?

Who this book is for:
This book is nice for reluctant readers because the pictures are liberally displayed throughout the text and are even part of the comedy.  Kids who like the diary type books will also enjoy this book.

Final thoughts:
Thankfully what happens in the treehouse does not stay in the treehouse! 

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The 13-Story Treehouse  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog - at no cost to you. Yipe!

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