Friday, November 11, 2016

Unforeseen Consequences! Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down by Jeff Kinney

Mom thought that I belonged in Talented and Gifted, so she tried to convince the school to let me in. But I had to take a test to prove I was smart. I don't remember everything on the test, but I do remember one of the questions.

Fill in the blank:

Johnny is the best at math.
Johnny is the best at swimming.
Johnny is the best at reading.
Johnny is _______________.

I guess I was supposed to write down something else he was best at. But I really didn't like this Johnny character, so I wrote

Johnny is a show-off.

Greg doesn't make the Talented and Gifted class, but Mom doesn't give up on self-improvement programs for her middle son. But Greg seems to have a talent only for non-stop video games.

Then, as Halloween decorations start to go up, Greg finds a goal that will definitely improve his life--getting invited to Mariana Mendoza's Halloween party.

Mariana's parties are kind of legendary because her parents don't care WHAT goes on as long as it stays in the basement.

But this year Mariana's parents are putting the squeeze on the guest list to only kids in the band.

I got a genius idea. If I join the BAND, I can get invited. Mom was really excited that I wanted to challenge myself. Dad said instruments are EXPENSIVE and I wouldn't stick to it.

Greg winds up with left-handed French horn, because it has only three keys. Dad insists that he has to practice every night. Since Greg can't seem to get anything but really rude noises out of his horn, he comes up with a way to keep Dad happy. He goes to Youtube on his PC.

Luckily I found some video clips of a girl practicing HER French horn, which are doing the trick, a least for now.

But then Greg learns that Mariana's parents have limited the invitations to her section of the band, the woodwinds.

But then I realized I've got an IN. Rowley's part of the woodwind section, so I realized that if I make myself part of Rowley's COSTUME, then wherever he goes I go.

Greg's ever-eager mom is on it and cheerfully contributes two perfectly-good sheets to their costume, sewing them into it together so that Greg and Rowley can go to the party as a two-headed man. Mom, inspired by the Mendoza's laissez faire parenting and Family Frolics magazine, throws herself into leading the games, and to Greg's great embarrassment, she's the hit of the party. But even with his mom there, the party is a blast, and the double-headed dudes party hearty, dancing with all the girls... until Rowley makes an unfortunate announcement.

Right when the party was about to hit the next level, Rowley told me he needed to use the bathroom.

We didn't PLAN for that.The only way out of the costume was to cut it off. Neither of us was wearing pants underneath, so THAT wasn't happening.

Once more, poor Greg Heffley finds himself the victim of unforeseen consequences, in Jeff Kinney's latest, Double Down (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 11) (Amulet Books, 2016), in which Kinney's hapless middle-schooler's misadventures continue in the eleventh in his best-selling series. The author-illustrator has the knack of offering up hilarious episode after episode without losing sight of the human side of the whole Heffley family, as his hapless tweener makes his way through those hard-scrabble middle-school years. Like Peter Pan, maybe Greg Heffley will never grow up, keeping even reluctant readers flocking by the millions to his cartoon-illustrated best-sellers.

For more of Greg's laugh-out-loud adventures, see reviews here.

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