Review Blog

Dec 30 2018

The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 13. Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143309352
(Age: 8-12) Themes: Friendship, Competition, Community Life, Climate Change. Jeff Kinney's popular series returns in the thirteenth instalment The Meltdown. Greg Heffley's diary focuses on the huge winter storm that results in heavy snow falls and school closures. When Greg's mom forces him to play outside, it's time for epic snowball fights, neighbourhood battles and plenty of fun. Greg's self-deprecating diary entries help the reader see the world through his eyes, with humorous asides and plenty of family and school drama. Greg's imagination is fun to read, thinking about how cold his ancestors were because they didn't have thermal underwear and even sheltering in his Gramma's basement and having to wear her clothes. Kinney's cartoon illustrations add to the fun as well, there's snow boots melted to the fireplace, epic snowball battles and pizza box snowshoes. The diary contains comments about the effects of climate change, the final cartoon shows cyborg Greg playing cards with a robot as an atom bomb explodes outside the window.
Greg's diary begins in January, which is unseasonably warm. His brain is fried and he's forgotten to write his International Showcase country project owing to the heat from the school furnace frying his brain! At home things are always interesting: mom's no screens on the weekends force Greg out into his neighbourhood to play. Surrey Street is fraught with danger, problems with neighbours and the upper and lower sections constantly at war with each other.
February brings heavy snowfalls and school closures that sees an epic snowball fight complete with snow forts, flags and kids who collaborate to bring the other side down. There's even an entrepreneurial neighbour, Mitchell Pickett, who's selling pre-made snowballs, icicles, snowball launchers and sloppy specials to all the participants. Fortification and castle building add interest to Greg's diary entries.
Fans of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will enjoy The Meltdown; it delivers all the wry humour, funny situations and social commentary they enjoy.
Rhyllis Bignell

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