Dog-gone Days! The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
FOR ME, SUMMER VACATION IS BASICALLY A THREE-MONTH GUILT TRIP.
JUST BECAUSE THE WEATHER'S NICE, EVERYONE EXPECTS YOU TO BE OUTSIDE ALL DAY "FROLICKING" OR WHATEVER. BUT THE TRUTH IS, I'VE ALWAYS BEEN MORE OF AN INDOOR PERSON.
THE WAY I LIKE TO SPEND MY SUMMER VACATION IS IN FRONT OF THE TV, PLAYING VIDEO GAMES WITH THE CURTAINS CLOSED AND THE LIGHTS TURNED OFF.
UNFORTUNATELY, MOM'S IDEA OF THE PERFECT SUMMER VACATION IS DIFFERENT FROM MINE.
Having survived the first year of middle school, Greg Heffley now has to survive his mom's idea of "The Best Summer Ever." There's the Reading Is Fun Club she sets up for all Greg's "friends." Luckily by the second meeting Greg is the only member left. Trips to Rowley's country club pool are cut off when Rowley's dad gets the $83 bill for smoothies the boys run up, and when Greg and Rowley partner in the V.I.P. Lawn Service to pay off that debt, Greg "poops" out when it comes to pushing a mower over dog doo.
A beach trip is a no go because of the economy, and when Greg persuades his mom that he should "bond" with his dad by doing his back-to-school shopping with him, Dad buys Greg's fall wardrobe from the sale table at the pharmacy. Still, there is his birthday to look forward to, right?
Wrong. Greg's parents confiscate all his money gifts to pay off the outstanding smoothie bill and give him what he asked for--a cell phone--except that it's the Ladybug model for senior citizens, programmed only to call home or 9-1-1. Uncle Joe's dog Killer eats half the cake while Greg is opening his gifts, and his mom gallantly tries to salvage the party by cutting off the dog-chewed part and dishing up a big slice for the birthday boy. As Greg observes, "but by that point I wasn't really in the mood for cake, especially not with Killer throwing up little birthday candles under the table."
But at least the Ladybug comes in handy when big brother Rodrick convinces Greg that his dad is planning to dump him in the city with strangers. Greg doubts the story, but after a drive through a strange and suspicious urban neighborhood, he panics and uses the cell phone to call 9-1-1 just before his dad turns into the parking lot at the ball park for their belated bonding day. At least the cops enjoy the free tickets to the game.
Sic transit gloria. With a summer like this one, middle school should be looking better than ever for Greg Heffley.
Jeff Kinney's just-published fourth Wimpy Kid book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days,(Abrams, 2009) is another laugh-out-loud killer-diller. Even reluctant readers will be signing up for this Reading Is Fun experience.