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Road Trip (With Kids)

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Long Haul
by Jeff Kinney (Puffin Books, $17.99)
Reviewed by Ruth Brassington

Wimpy_kidI reviewed last year’s Wimpy Kid issue, Hard Luck, when someone gave it to me for my birthday. I waited this year, but it was my hard luck that I didn’t get this new one as a present. In The Long Haul young Greg Hefley is at it again – telling us about his life in ways that surprise, amuse and sometimes appal. This time the theme is a long haul family road trip, with an extra character or two on board and a range of car games to help the distances fly and the family dynamic run smoothly. Of course this was never going to happen. Those who’ve ever been on long haul journeys with children will understand that, and with the Hefley family ANYTHING can happen. And so it does – sugar wafers and breath mints for holiday dinner treats dinner anyone? Or shall we visit a pet cemetery?

Reminiscences from past dramas in Greg’s life are delivered by way of entertainment and I, as a parent and grandparent, was reassured about the “normalities” of family life. Although, as Greg says about himself, “Whenever I have a difficult choice to make, I always seem to pick the wrong one.” And there’s a self-send-up by the author, whose character comments that teachers and parents don’t always like their children being keen on a certain series of books.

Eight-year-old Henry liked Jeff Kinney’s latest offering, the ninth in his Wimpy Kid graphic series: “It’s a good book. I’ve read all of them now. I hope he gets an idea for another one next year!” As for me, well, I might be just a bit jaded by these Wimpy Kids, and I don’t think I’ll review any more of the series. But then I’m not a kid.