Books & Literature

Book Review: No Brainer: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney

MIDDLE-GRADE: In No Brainer, book 18 of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series from #1 international bestselling author Jeff Kinney, it’s up to Greg to save his crumbling school before it’s shuttered for good.

A hilarious but chaotic chronicling of a school about to close down.

Feature image credit: Penguin Books Australia

American author and cartoonist Jeff Kinney needs no introduction to the younger readers of today. Most will have read or at least heard of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, whether they have listened to it at school as a class novel, read one or more themselves, or maybe seen one of the full colour animated films on Disney+.  Since 2007, Kinney has sold more than 275 million copies globally, published in 69 different languages.

No Brainer: Diary of a Wimpy Kid is the 18th instalment. It is set in Greg Heffley’s quite dysfunctional school, the Larry Mack Middle School, named after a dodgy former principal who now owns a car dealership. The school has been suffering from extremely poor test results. Ideas of how to solve this abound, as one ridiculous idea gets built upon to become an even more ridiculous idea. In fact, it is an avalanche of things that go wrong.

Dysfunctional teachers and students cause chaos throughout the school until they find out the school may have to close. Then things get really serious!

Each book in the series has a different colour front cover. This one is in shades of green and aqua. On the front cover, Greg is this time pictured at his school desk, looking very confused and obviously having no idea what is going on.

The text is written on lined pages throughout the book, making it actually feel like a diary. The black-and-white line illustrations by Kinney are very amusing, adding extra information to the text[sm1] .

When asked, middle years children will tell you they love these books (as is evident by the sales). Adults may not understand why they are so appealing due to the fast paced and chaotic story line. One could wonder what is actually going on in Kinney’s brain! Poor Greg is always getting into trouble and never seems to get a break from bullying and just plain bad luck. From an adult’s point of view, if you are looking for a good role model for your children in these books, especially for girls, perhaps steer clear! Although your child may argue differently.

Those who are collectors of this series will definitely want to read what happens next in the life of Greg, but even if you have lived under a rock and never read any of them, there is no need to start at the beginning. Just pick it up and dive right in.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

The views expressed in this review belong to the author and not Glam Adelaide, its affiliates, or employees.

Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: October 2023
RRP: $14.99

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