The trials and tribulations of middle school life are temporarily over for Greg Heffley. As summer approaches, there are no bullies or classes to worry about. Greg is ready to kick back and enjoy junk food, TV, and video games. However, after his summer vacation is canceled, a three-month guilt trip starts for Greg. Greg now has to put up with his mom’s constant demands to go outside and read a book, his dad and his “bonding” experiences, a terrible birthday party, a new dog, and a fight with his best friend, Rowley. How will Greg survive?
Written in Greg’s own journal, the conflict of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days revolves around everything that happens in Greg’s life. It is written from his 12-year-old perspective. The story contains a lot of bathroom and childish humor. At one point in the story, Greg, who is almost naked, has to chase after his dog. At another point in the story, Greg has to save his younger brother, Manny, before he accidentally washes his hands in the urinal.
Greg Heffley is a well-developed and relatable character for young audiences. Although Greg is lazy, petty, narcissistic, and cowardly, he does have moments of kindness. Greg will show readers the importance of sharing and thinking of others. He even points out some of the flaws in his own terrible behavior, showing kids that procrastinating and sleeping all day isn’t worth it. The consistently funny black-and-white illustrations, which look more like a comic strip than a highly illustrated graphic novel, help break up the text and keep even the most reluctant readers engaged.
Greg’s perspective is often pessimistic and at times can be downright mean. Greg demonstrates qualities, such as laziness and selfishness, that parents would not want their children to emulate. However, the story has relatable conflicts and shows readers the different perspectives of children and parents. Greg’s behavior could lead to a good discussion between parents and children about how people should act. Readers do not have to read these books in order to enjoy them. The fun, easy-to-read story will teach valuable and practical lessons to readers. Despite the childish humor, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days will entertain readers and have them laughing out loud.
- At the beginning of the book, Greg and Rowley are strolling around the country club pool and he says, “We’re both bachelors at the moment, and during the summer it’s better to be unattached.”
- Greg has a crush on Heather Hills, a lifeguard at the public pool, and hits on her every day for weeks. However, he “…didn’t mention Heather Hills to Mom, because [he doesn’t] need her getting in the middle of my love life.”
- Rodrick shoves Greg off the high dive.
- Grandpa accidentally runs over Greg’s dad’s dog while Rodrick’s fish eats Greg’s fish.
- Greg snaps Rowley with a rubber band, leaving him with a red mark on his arm.
- Rowley “crushed [Greg’s] hand to smithereens” with a hammer because he thought it was the Muddy Hand (a terrifying horror movie character) coming to get him.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Both bathroom and immature humor are used frequently and include words like poop, idiot, pee, and dumb.
- Poop jokes are told frequently. For example, Rodrick wants to name the dog Turtle so he can call it “Turd for short.”
- Scared that he’s not going out enough, Greg’s mom invites Fregley over and suggests that he and Greg should play outside together. Greg glances out the window and says, “I think Fregley might be naked” when he sees Fregley shirtless behind a tree.
- When Greg was younger, he used to go swim in the baby pool, but he quit after he figured little kids would pee in the pool.
- Greg’s dad went back-to-school shopping and the next day Greg says, “Well, THAT was a dumb move because Dad did all of his shopping at the pharmacy.”
- Greg’s at the public pool and asks a lifeguard, “Does Mrs. Arciaga REALLY think it’s a good idea to wear a bikini when she’s eight months pregnant?”
- Greg has the highest score on an arcade machine called Thunder Volt at the boardwalk, and his name was at the top of the high scores list. However, the person that had the second highest score on the list listed their name as “Is an idiot.” The high score list says “Greg Heffley …. is an idiot.”
- Greg’s Gramma prays to the Lord to help her find her dollar savers coupon book while Greg prays, “Dear Lord, please let Mr. Jefferson get hit on the head so he forgets about the money I owe him. And please let me get past the third level of Twisted Wizard without having to use any of my bonus health packs. Amen, and thank you in advance.”
- Greg describes a church trip on Sunday. He says, “Today’s sermon was called ‘Jesus in disguise,’ and it was about how you should treat everyone you meet with kindness because you never know which person is really Jesus pretending to be someone else.”
by Matthew Perkey