Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (Book 3) – Jeff Kinney
Let’s face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father. You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other “manly” endeavors. Of course, Greg is able to easily sidestep his father’s efforts to change him. But when Greg’s dad threatens to send him to military academy, Greg realizes he has to shape up . . . or get shipped out.
Greg and his family and friends, who make the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books a must-read for middle school readers, are back and at their best in this hilarious new installment of the series, which is sure to please current fans while attracting new ones.
This highly anticipated third book in the critically acclaimed and bestselling series takes the art of being wimpy to a whole new level.
The third book in this genre-busting series is certain to enlarge Kinney’s presence on the bestseller lists, where the previous titles have taken up residence for the past two years. Kinney’s spot-on humor and winning formula of deadpan text set against cartoons are back in full force. This time, Greg starts off on New Year’s Day (he resolves to “help other people improve,” telling his mother, “I think you should work on chewing your potato chips more quietly”) and ends with summer vacation. As he fends off his father’s attempts to make him more of a man (the threat of military school looms), Greg’s hapless adventures include handing out anonymous valentines expressing his true feelings (“Dear James, You smell”), attempting to impress his classmate Holly and single-handedly wrecking his soccer team’s perfect season. Kinney allows himself some insider humor as well, with Greg noting the “racket” children’s book authors have going. “All you have to do is make up a character with a snappy name, and then make sure the character learns a lesson at the end of the book.” Greg, self-centered as ever, may be the exception proving that rule. Ages 8–12.
For those wondering why tween boys don’t read very much, the answer is that more books aren’t like this. In this third (but not last, despite the subtitle’s implication) series entry, Greg Heffley, the Georgia Nicolson of American middle-school males, is just trying to get through life. In hilarious diary entries, he details his attempts to get along with his brothers; a potential romance; and his dad’s futile efforts to turn him into a jock, which reinforce Kinney’s well-realized theme that grown-ups just don’t get it. While diary may not be the most macho term, as Greg will be the first to tell you, the format certainly hooks the target audience with its printlike font, straightforward language, and copious cartoons. As the book opens, Greg is eschewing New Year’s resolutions: “It’s not easy for me to think of ways to improve myself, because I’m already pretty much one of the best people I know.” And while it is clear to all that he is no saint, he is real, and many kids will agree with that self-assessment. Grades 5-8. –Andrew Medlar
Jeff Kinney is an online game developer and designer, and a #1 New York Times bestselling author. In 2009, Jeff was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives in southern Massachusetts with his wife and their two sons.