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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Review

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Greg Heffley is back in another round of journal entries profusely illustrated with comics. Greg has plenty to gripe about, starting with his summer. His dad insisted he join the swim team, where he finally got over hiding from the starter gun bullet but managed to stay the worst swimmer on the team --- an experience that was "worse than being in middle school." One problem was that, because of the women's Water Jazz exercise class, the team had to swim in just two lanes. Another was that Greg had to wear his big brother Rodrick's outgrown skimpy Speedos, although his teammates got to wear trunks. How much did Greg hate being on the swim team? He actually tried to talk his dad into letting him join the Water Jazz exercisers instead.

The main thorn in Greg's side, though, is Rodrick. Rodrick is the drummer in the band called "Loded Diper." He makes Greg sit crammed with the band equipment in the back of the ancient Loded Diper van when he drives Greg home from swim team practice. Finally, Greg comes up with a foolish --- I mean "foolproof" --- plan to get out of practice, but it involves being wrapped like a mummy in toilet paper.

The swim team experience, plus the fact that Greg's best friend, Rowley, is gone all summer, makes going back to school an anticipated event --- but afterward all is still far from rosy in Greg's world. He and Rodrick fight so much that their little brother, Manny, draws a picture at day care featuring two big heads fighting while a small one cries. Although Greg's mom and dad believe it's of them and so act unrelentingly fond of each other around Manny, Greg knows that Manny's picture is actually of his big brothers arguing. The boys cannot get along but are forced by their parents to spend time together. For instance, they wash the dishes together…during which Rodrick always leaves for an urgent and prolonged call of nature.

Unfortunately for Greg, Rodrick has the goods on him. Rodrick is capable of blackmailing Greg about his most humiliating secret, so Greg can't ever tell on him. Greg wants to find out something embarrassing about Rodrick, but in the meantime watches his parents' maneuverings. His mom wants his dad to watch romantic comedies with her, but his dad only really wants to hide out in the basement to work on his miniature Civil War battlefield, resulting in a bit of a battlefield at the Heffley residence.

Greg is also chagrined to have to hear every single detail of Rowley's summer vacation trip to South America, which bores him senseless but causes girls to gather maddeningly around Rowley. He manages to stay busy with practical jokes, along with the consequent visits to the principal's office. He also figures out a great way to cheat at school, but his plan will only work if he has a glass eye. When he finally discovers a secret worth blackmailing Rodrick about, Greg takes notice.

RODRICK RULES --- the sequel to the New York Times bestseller DIARY OF A WIMPY KID --- is another enjoyable saga in Greg's life, which will make readers of all ages laugh out loud at his escapades, along with the tweaked and quirky family relationships. (Gramma displays all of Manny's drawings, but also the note Greg wrote when he was six and angry at her: "I hate you, Gramma"; Grampa only watches his building's security camera feed on TV.) We're also treated to a delightful twist in the tale about Greg's big secret. Let's hope Greg's mom buys him another "Diary" soon!

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on February 1, 2008

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
(Diary of a Wimpy Kid #2)
by Jeff Kinney