Sunday, August 25, 2013

Books Similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid

As Diary of a Wimpy Kid remains popular as ever, I like to give parents other choices in the diary/graphic novel genre to keep their kids excited about reading.

This week I have a new series from the creator of Over the Hedge, which showcases some deadpan humor and is extremely clever.  This one may be a new favorite of mine.  I am also featuring one of my favorite girl books, Ellie McDoodle, whose stories include wonderful activities and games for kids to engage in.  Lastly, I want to remind parents of Big Nate, a terrific series to read if your kids liked the Wimpy Kid books.

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Title:       The Odd Squad: Bully Bait

Author:   Michael Fry

Target:    Grades 3 - 6

Series:     This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
Nick thinks he is the smallest kid in school, which is probably a result of his being shoved in lockers on a regular basis.  When his guidance counselor brings together the three misfits of his class and forces them to join the Safety Patrol so that they can fit in, things really start to get fun.  With a plan to stop the biggest bully in school, Nick, tall Molly and clueless Karl end up in more trouble than they bargained for.  But doing the right thing, even if it means being nice to a bully, is always for the best, right?

Why I love this book:
This book is so darn funny, in a smart and deadpan way.  Nick is so matter of fact in his humor that I couldn’t stop laughing.  If there was one character that just about put me over the top it was Nick’s grandmother, Memaw, who was the perfect caricature of the clueless old lady who is anything but.  

The subject matter is certainly not a walk in the park, but Fry deals with kid’s quirks in a surprisingly real, if not funny way.  Each character is an extreme, but they are perfect in their depiction.

Who this book is for:
The humor in this book reminded me a lot of Timmy Failure, so if your kids liked that book, this book will deliver for them.  Kids who like the format of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, should also gravitate to this story.

Final thoughts:
Michael Fry is the creator of the comic Over the Hedge, so if you are a fan of his work, this book will not disappoint.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Odd Squad: Bully Bait (Odd Squad Book, An)  A portion of each purchase goes back to this blog at no cost to you.

Title:       Ellie McDoodle: Most Valuable Player

Author:   Ruth McNally Barshaw

Target:    Grades 3-6

Series:     Yes

What this book is about:
In this installment, Ellie is recruited on to the soccer team when her father becomes the coach.  She is far from the best player on the team and struggles to keep up.  Soccer is not the only group she finds herself in.  She is also in teams for science class and her Journey of the Minds squad and she realizes that she has to find a way to work with people who may not be quite like her, in order to succeed.  On and off the field, she figures out how to be a team player.

Why I love this book:
I am a big fan of the Ellie McDoodle books.  Not only do I like Ellie as she struggles through her latest set of challenges but I believe the author does a wonderful job engaging the reader to get involved in drawing, mind puzzles, games and arts & crafts.  

In this book alone, kids learn how to make a ninja star, solve several challenging puzzles (believe me, I was stumped,) make computer faces, play sponge ball and build a Rube Goldberg contraption.  How cool is that?

Who this book is for:
Format is similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid so kids who like the mix of text and drawings will really like this book.  This book should appeal to girls.  While Ellie is playing soccer in this book, your child does not have to be a fan of the game to enjoy it.

Final thoughts:
These books are just lovely and fun and I so appreciate how the author motivates kids to try things that are inspired by the story.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: The Ellie McDoodle Diaries: Most Valuable Player  A portion of each purchase goes back to this blog at no cost to you.

Title:          Big Nate in a Class by Himself
Author:     Lincoln Peirce
Target:      Grades 3-6
What this book is about:
Nate is a sixth grader, and everything seems to be going wrong for him.  When he opens a fortune cookie that tells him he will “surpass all others,” it leads to an interesting day.  His fortune does come true, but in the most unexpected and funny way!

Why I love this book:
This book is actually laugh out loud funny (yes you caught me...gym shorts, a drill sergeant PE teacher and a surprised sixth grader...enough said)  It had me in stitches.  The author has actually been writing a long standing weekly comic strip about Nate for years, so he is a fully developed character
Who this book is for:
For any child who loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Big Nate will certainly delight.  The good news is that Big Nate is quite a bit more age appropriate for the younger  grades.   While Nate is a sixth grader, his anecdotes are pretty tame as he navigates through a day at school, where he seems to get detention at every turn.  However, there are a few times where characters say “shut up” or “butthead” so if this is something that bothers you then you should probably wait until your kids are older to buy the book.  Additionally, there are a few grammatical errors, but they are not rampant.  
Final thoughts:
This is an easy fun read, similar to Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  With a haiku to the Cheez Doodle what is not to love!

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Big Nate In a Class by Himself

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