Let me tell you about Jeff Kinney. 1) His first name is really great. 2) He's currently writing and drawing the bestselling, every kid has to read, makes you laugh-out-loud book series Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
If you haven't read these books yet, I can understand. You may have felt some hesitation. Maybe you thought to yourself, "I'm an adult. Could something as simple as a child's book really entertain me?" YES! Yes it can! And if you haven't even heard of this book consider yourself out of touch.
Every child I work with, and know, has read this book. Mostly likely several times. There's a reason it's in such high demand. It's brilliant! The story is about Greg Heffley, who one day gets a diary (or as he prefers journal) one day from his mom and decides to give it a try. He goes on to document his daily life with his bully brother, nerdy friend (Rowley), adventures at school (like chasing kids with a worm on a stick) and all the stuff he's forced to do instead of playing video games. As it turns out Greg isn't really a wimp. He's kind of a jerk.
The books have me laughing out loud very frequently, mostly because Greg is so oblivious to the consequences of his actions, and often times terrible things happen to him. Yet he perseveres.
The books are also great tools for introducing reluctant readers to the world of books, since the story is told both through words and short comics. It's a fairly easy read, with plenty of breaks for the weary mind. This is a typical page in a Wimpy Kid book:
For me, Kinney's art is wonderfully simple. As you can see from the samples I've posted, his art is basic shapes and design. He doesn't bog the story down with unneeded detail, and it works to make you laugh even harder. He is also an inspiration since he began running Wimpy Kid on the website Funbrain.com and was able to turn it into a betselling book within 6 years of developing the concept.
Please, do yourself a favor and read these books. We all need to smile and laugh and these books are a great way to get that started.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
When I need to concentrate really hard, especially on the phone, I have to keep myself occupied. When I'm on a wireless phone I can pace. When I'm grounded I have to draw. I found this work note in a stack of papers that have been on my desk at work for 3 years.