Thursday, December 22, 2011

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Lately David has been exhibiting somewhat more interest in reading. He even gets excited about going to the library. He returns home with stacks of books, although I'm not always thrilled with his selection. I think some of them are way too easy. Some are reference-type items that he skips around. Others are comic books. But his teacher recommended that at home we foster our kids' interest in reading by letting them choose whatever they wish to read (whether for pleasure or for daily reading homework); we should let her be the "bad one" who forces the kids to read what they might not otherwise choose.

I have to say that I'm a bit shocked at what passes for children's' reading these days. Themes I don't like. Inappropriate language. Foul humor. Etc.

For a while David has been asking us to get him the popular Diary of a Wimpy Child. At one point I did pick up a copy at Costco. But when we looked at it at home we thought it was inappropriate and returned it. I couldn't believe his friends' parents let them read it. I guess times change? Well we finally broke down and let him buy it on the most recent book order.

He can't put it down. Getting ready in the morning takes even longer than usual because he tries to sneak in a few pages. And putting him to sleep at night is even more tortuous than usual because he wants to read more of it. I've spoken in the past with classmates' parents who complained their kids won't go to sleep at night because they stay up reading under the covers. "How horrible," I would sarcastically comment. Thank God my kid doesn't do that, I would add with a ting of jealousy.

Last night we let him stay up later than usual because of Chanukkah. As usual it was a bad decision. The nightly rituals didn't go so smoothly, words were exchanged and fists flew (just kidding). We sent him up to bed but when I went up to check on him I saw him reading in bed. I didn't have the ko'ach to argue anymore and gave up. When Kinneret checked on him a little later she found that he had literally fallen asleep in his book. Maybe he is turning into an ohev sefer after all? How can I get angry at him for reading in bed after bedtime?

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On the subject of "how can I get angry . . . ?"

David broke the pencil sharpener by sticking trying to sharpen the eraser end. We told him not to do that again, but just to be safe, I replaced it with one that has a stronger motor. Then Kinneret caught him sticking in all sorts of items, e.g., chop sticks. She was furious, but I couldn't stop laughing. I really did think it was funny. I also think that a measure of mischief fueled by curiosity, the desire to try something new or different, and independent decision making is healthy in a child.

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MDJ said...

What's wrong with Diary of a Wimpy Kid? I'm not sure Emma has read it, but I hadn't heard any complaints about it that I can recall.

Abba's Rantings said...

touches on girl-boy relationship issues (also a refernce to hot girls), foul language (not even close to what they learn on the bus, but still surprised to see it in children's lit), dirty juvenile humor (think body functions), etc. some parents also object to various themes (e.g., bullying), but i don't care about this as much. what happened to the wholesome books we grew up with (ah, the good old days). maybe it doesn't matter. probably no worse than what they watch on tv now anyway.
there is a discussion of some of this at

aside from what i consider inappropriate content for a young kid's book, the english is poor. intentionally so, as it as a diary and mimics how a kid would think/write. this is all good in for an adult book, but shouldn't kids' lit reinforce proper english, not undermine it?

Abba's Rantings said...

someone gave david a set of the books for chanukah. one of them is about puberty. i looked it over quickly. as far as i can tell it's about growing hair, sweating and smelling bad, etc. i don't think anything sexual or about reproduction (didn't look too carefully), but i did still did a double take that such young kids read a book about puberty. do i really need to discuss this with him now?

tesyaa said...

We own all the Wimpy Kid books. With the exception of the most recent one, I found them all hilarious. My boys loved them (granted, they're a few years older than your son).

The most recent one is terrible - bad story, bad jokes. It's like Rocky IV. The franchise has run its course (and then some).

My 10 year old is into Harry Potter now - let's just say I have a renewed respect for JK Rowling.

My son also really enjoyed books by Johanna Hurwitz, if you're looking for recommendations, and she has written dozens of books covering dozens of age levels.

S. said...

Regarding reading material, that's a tough one. I remember when my father flipped out when he found me reading Stephen King when I was 12. On the one hand, I kind of understand his point of view now, as a parent. On the other hand, kids like dark stuff, and I'm not sure that there is a direct line from It to social warping. I guess you have to look at things in the larger context of our kid's interests and behaviors, and of course weigh how we respond, and what alternatives we offer instead of only putting the kibosh on something.