Review Blog

Sep 23 2020

Rowley Jefferson's awesome friendly adventure by Jeff Kinney

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Puffin Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760897888. 218pp.
(Ages: 8-12) Recommended. This is the second in a new series by Jeff Kinney. It is written from the perspective of Rowley Jefferson, Greg Heffley's more virtuous friend (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series). Rowley has decided to write a fantasy adventure about flute-playing Roland, who embarks on a mission to save his mother. She has been kidnapped by the White Warlock and taken to the Ice Fortress. Rowley is accompanied by his best friend Garg the barbarian. They meet many characters from classic books along the way such as Sherlock Holmes, Medusa and trolls and pixies. Many of the characters join them on the journey. At the end of each chapter Greg advises Rowley to make the story more "bad-ass" and appealing to a modern audience. Greg thinks the book needs to be made into a movie with lucrative spin offs like video games, action dolls and toys in fast food meals. Rowley, always a stickler for doing the right thing, increasingly doesn't agree with Greg's sexist, violent and wasteful suggestions.
This is pretty funny, clever material. I recognised semi-subtle references to the highly popular blockbusters Game of Thrones and the Twilight series, amongst others. There is a lot of fun in the contrast between sweet nerdy Rowley and more worldly Greg. The satirical look at the commercialisation of books and films is bound to get readers thinking. I laughed out loud at Stephen the half-man, half-cow, with an udder and Greg saying "Librarians will go nuts for all the classic book characters." Cartoon-like illustrations are integral to the humour of the Jeff Kinney brand.
This is enjoyable reading for reluctant through to well-seasoned readers. Kinney's books play an important role in getting kids reading.
Jo Marshall

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