Book Review: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid 18 (No Brainer)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid book

It must be that time of year — the time when the newest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book by Jeff Kinney rolls off the presses, and sure enough, for the 18th year (!), a new book has arrived from the series. This one is called No Brainer and it’s another predictably funny set of journal skits in the life of Greg Heffley, and this time, the entire focus is on Greg’s middle school and the education system, so you know I was quickly opening the pages.

Kinney takes aim at issues such as school funding problems, book banning in school libraries, the use of advertising on school property from local companies, and much more as the new (out of retirement) principal of Greg’s school — which just learned it had terrible standardized test scores — seeks to motivate, cajole and do whatever it takes to get the school off the state’s watch-list, before devolving into every aspect of a money-grab.

As usual, it’s all a mess of distractions and dead ends, but Kinney’s skills with his pen and his writing brings heart to the story, through Greg’s keen observations about the transformation of his school, which is in danger of being closed.

I read this one in a day, enjoyed it, and have passed it on to one of my students. When I told this sixth grader that I had been reading each book, every year, for 18 years (I used to read them aloud with each of my three boys when they were younger), the student gave me a look, as if trying to grapple with the longevity of the reading experience.

Then we both laughed, and he thanked me for lending him the book, and soon was completely immersed in it.

Peace (over time),
Kevin

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