Here is a really enjoyable article from USA Today about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid phenomenon - Heartbreaker is a huge fan of these books and I'll be running over to Barnes & Noble today to pick up the newest one, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, so he'll have a little present to come home to today.
I think I'll even take a break from Mary Todd Lincoln to finally read these myself. Heartbreaker's been raving about them (along with many other kids) and telling me how I need to read them as well, and it's been far too long since Will and I have read a book together (other than Inkheart, which we're working through right now). When I helped staff the school's book fair this year, this series sold like hotcakes (as did the Camp Rock novelization, but Heartbreaker's not into that so much). Kids love this stuff. Hey, any book that gets kids excited about reading wins my vote hands-down.
I remember my cousin stressing out to me about her son, who's the same age as Heartbreaker, not wanting to read; I recommended Captain Underpants; a favorite of Heartbreaker's at the time. She proceeded to get all sanctimonious on me about the 'bathroom humor' of the book and how she'd never let her son read that.
Oh, please. Do you want your son to read? Do you think that not reading Captain Underpants, or any 'bathroom humor'-related book is going to stop your son from sniggering at a good fart joke? I'm a 38-year old female that thinks fart jokes are absolutely hilarious, provided they're done well. Drop the pretenses of being Victorian; you live in a split-level in New Jersey.
That said, kudos to teachers and librarians who have championed Captain Underpants and now, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, in all their boogers- and fart-related glory. Reading things that are written to speak to kids is the way to get them to read, particularly since we now know that boys learn differently from girls.
And if you have a boy, by the way, check out author Jon Scieszka's site, Guys Read - it's his literacy program to help boys find things they like to read. I first 'met' Scieszka through Nancy, who read The Stinky Cheese Man to Heartbreaker when he was but a toddler. He darn near giggled his Blues Clues socks off, and Scieszka went on to become one of his first favorite writers.