Tuesday, July 21, 2009

REVIEW: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Kinney, J.  (2008).  Diary of a Wimpy Kid:  Rodrick Rules.  New York:  Amulet Books.


Greg is back, writing in a new diary for a new school year.  He spent his summer swimming, avoiding swimming, and enduring some secret humiliation that only his older brother, Rodrick knows about.  So, Greg is pretty happy when the new school year begins.  He spends his time playing a joke on another student and trying to earn money for video games.

Greg's relationship with his older brother, Rodrick, is at the heart of the second book in The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.  With Rodrick knowing an embarrassing secret about him, Greg feels powerless against his brother.  And although Greg and his brother have always had trouble getting along, their mom tries to take steps to improve the boys' relationship.  Whether they want her to or not.  

Personally, this book was more relatable for me than the previous one.  Like Greg, I too spent my summers forced to participate on swim teams.  Unlike Greg though, I can't say I ever spent practices hiding in the bathroom or rapping myself in toilet paper to stay warm.

On the plus side, this book seemed to embrace gender and racial stereotypes a little less often than the previous book.  Don't get me wrong, nerds still look traditionally nerdy, but it's less determined by racial lines.

It's worth noting that a young reader does not necessarily need to read these books in their official order.  This book picks up soon after the first one left off, but includes few references to that book.  It takes place over approximately a semester of school.

Activities to Do with the Book:


 As with the rest of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, this book lends itself to have students write and illustrate their own diaries.

Since allegories are a plot point that Greg briefly mentions, a teacher could take that on as a teaching moment and give students more examples of the form.  Since the scientific method is also mentioned later on in the book, that too could become a teaching moment.


Favorite Quotes:


“I guess Mom was pretty proud of herself for making me write in that journal last year, because now she went and bought me another one" (p. 1).

"At my first swim meet a couple of years ago, Dad told me that when the umpire shot off the starter pistol, I was supposed to dive in and start swimming.

But what he DIDN'T tell me was that the starter gun only fired BLANKS.

So I was a whole lot more worried about where the bullet was gonna land than I was about getting myself to the other end of the pool" (p. 3).

"The truth is, Rodrick can pretty much treat me any way he wants, because he knows there's nothing I can do about it.

See, Rodrick is the only one why knows about this REALLY embarrassing thing that happened to me over the summer, and he's been holding it over my head ever since" (p. 24).


"Everyone was happy to see Chirag again, but a couple of us decided to have a little fun with him before officially welcoming him back.

So we basically pretended he was still gone" (p. 52).

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