I just finished watching “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” And I have to say it was…the funniest movie ever! It wasn’t the bundle-of-fluff grade school drivel I feared it would be. Instead, it was a real Home Alone-esque punch-in-the-gut look at what middle school was like.
I was definitely said wimpy kid. My middle school years were an endless hatchery of “Get Cool Quick!” schemes. Hell, so were my high school years!
I’ll stop there.
Anyway, I have no idea if the books are as good. When I worked at a book store, I know they were wildly popular sellers. I know Mark Twain would roll over in his grave at how many times I was asked where the “Wimpy Kid ones” were?
But, alas, I never got around to reading it. Don’t get me wrong, I read Young Adult/Children’s fiction all the time. This was more about popularity–it was too popular. Nothing turns me off of an author faster than jealousy at their success.
Imagine my nightmare when I found out Harry Potter was actually good!
Books for younger audiences are fearlessly imaginative. They have great metaphors and themes–even for adults. This is definitely a medium I want to work in. Some of the greatest life lessons can be found on pages that are shared with dragons and cooties.
Plus, nobody wants to read ‘real life’ all the time. Books for younger audiences don’t need to be so rational and efficient. If in a book, some band of warriors stops mid-quest for a bug-hunting contest, nobody is thinking, “Geez, there’s a priority here, Warriors, have you forgotten the mission? Aren’t you worried about your rank? What are the procedures for Warrior court martial?”
It’s a nice break from ‘real life’ without losing all the heart.
And speaking of warriors, in an attempt to get my cousins’ daughter more interested in reading, I picked her up a copy of “Warriors” by Erin Hunter–a badass novel about roving cat clans and their territorial natures and fierce blood-thirst. Yeah! Even I got hooked skimming the first few pages!
She handed it back to me and said, “I already have a cat book like this.”
Are you kidding me?