The Graphic Novel: Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Beyond |

The Graphic Novel: Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Beyond

Teri Andrews Rinne
Truckee Children's Services Librarian

The graphic novel is a relatively recent publishing phenomenon, directed mainly toward the children and young adult demographic. In my youth, we called them comic books. Graphic novels are bound like actual books rather than flimsy magazine-style newsprint. They are built to last, and they are finding their way onto our library shelves.

Perhaps the biggest splash in the graphic novel industry in recent years is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and its three additional titles in the growing series. Another installment is set for release in April. Although not technically a traditional graphic novel in that storyboard panels are not utilized, it is instead heavily illustrated with line drawings and looks to be printed by hand, diary-style, rather than typeset. It has been a runaway favorite for both boys and girls, older elementary age through middle school. Itand#8217;s also a closet favorite of certain childrenand#8217;s librarianand#8230;

The series started online at in 2004. In this hilarious diary told through the eyes of a and#8220;wimpy kid,and#8221; the author tells the story of Greg Heffley, who is trying to navigate the social swim of middle school and family life with hilarious results. Publisherand#8217;s Weekly calls it a and#8220;laugh-out-loud novel in cartoons with believable preteen dialogue and narration.and#8221; Author/illustrator Jeff Kinney ably skewers familiar aspects of middle school life, from dealing with the mysteries of what makes someone popular to the trauma of a and#8220;wrestling unitand#8221; in gym class. Be prepared to laugh out loud, even as an adult! –

There are many Wimpy Kid genre-type series and many somewhat similar titles in the library, either in format or comedic content. More traditional graphic novels include the reissue of the classic and#8220;Adventures of TinTin,and#8221; the and#8220;Boneand#8221; series and and#8220;BabyMouse.and#8221; All utilize the storyboard panel format. Rachel Russelland#8217;s and#8220;Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Fabulous Lifeand#8221; looks very similar to Wimpy Kid, but chronicles a 14-year-old girland#8217;s travails through middle school: Mean girls, hot boys and embarrassing parents. It is slightly more mature in subject matter, and more appealing to girls. Other titles that look more like the Wimpy Kid format, combining text and line drawings, include the following series titles: and#8220;Martin Bridge,and#8221; and#8220;Clementine,and#8221; and#8220;Franny K. Stein: Mad Scientist,and#8221; and#8220;Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid,and#8221; and Dav Pilkey series such as and#8220;Captain Underpantsand#8221; and Ricky Ricottaand#8217;s and#8220;Mighty Robot.and#8221; Similar in terms of being written in a diary or scrapbook format are and#8220;Dear Dumb Diaryand#8221; and and#8220;Little Wolfand#8217;s Book of Badness: Diary of Daring Deeds,and#8221; and#8220;Ameliaand#8217;s Notebook and Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf.and#8221; Similar in terms of comedic content are books by Andrew Clements, Dan Gutman and the and#8220;Sideway School Storiesand#8221; series by Louis Sacher.

So while we have to wait until April for the next and#8220;Wimpy Kidand#8221; installment, there are plenty of other titles on the shelves of the Truckee Library to keep your children happy in the meantime.-

Library Hours

Monday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Tuesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Wednesday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

No storytimes held during Ski/Skate Week Feb. 15-19.

Tuesday Toddler Time at 10:30 a.m. (2 to 3 year olds)

Babes in Bookland Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. (6 months to 2 years)

Storytelling with Mrs. Fix on Thursdays at 11:15 a.m. (3 years and up)

Pajama Time, First Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. (all ages)

Winter Reading Program for ages 5-12 through Feb. 28, 2010

Bookshelfand#8217;s Dry Camp Book Club at the Library

Meets monthly at the Library. Participants at the book group meeting will receive a coupon for 15 percent off a one-time book purchase at the Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks. Everyone is welcome.

Now on display at the library

Portraits by Truckee artist Raphael Jolly

Above the Fireplace: Sand Harbor in oils by Linda Dand#8217;Toole

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