Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog DaysTitle: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Author: Jeff Kinney
ISBN: 9780810983915
Pages: 214 pages
Publisher/Date: Amulet Books, c2009.

For me, summer vacation is basically a three-month guilt trip.
Just because the weather’s nice, everyone expects you to be outside all day “frolicking” or whatever. And if you don’t spend every second outdoors, people think there’s something wrong with you. But the truth is, I’ve always been more of an indoor person.
The way I like to spend my summer vacation is in front of the TV, playing video games with the curtains closed and the lights turned off. (1)

The fourth installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney has arrived! In Dog Days, Greg is dealing with the effects of a bad economy. His family can’t afford the country club pool like Rowley’s dad, so he’s forced to endure the town pool. Heather the life guard makes it bearable, but Greg is forced to pay for all the smoothies that he and Rowley ordered. They start a lawn mowing company together even though neither one has access to a lawn mower, but Greg is NOT going to step over the dog turds that cover the yard. When Greg’s dad has to pick him up early from a not so fun camping trip with Rowley’s family, which included no television or video games, Greg gets worried that he’s going to be sold, and calls the cops. Greg’s story is anything but predictable.

Everyone can bemoan and send me letters all they want to, but this was my least favorite Wimpy Kid book. Kinney spent way too much time emphasizing Greg’s fear of the men’s shower, more than I think is appropriate for a book that third and fourth grade girls and boys are reading and which I think could have been left out of the book entirely. While nothing inappropriate is shown, it just seems unneccessary, with the four scenes showcasing almost identical pictures of naked men with their waists being blocked from view by a strategically placed bench. He also plays some mean pranks on his father and friend, such as calling the police and ripping dollar bills from kids. Some of the scrapes he gets himself into are still classic Wimpy Kid, like avoiding the dog poop while mowing a neighbor’s lawn and being forced to start a book club with his mother. But was I laughing out loud with this one? Not really. I think more than one person will be disappointed with this latest chapter in Greg’s life. I find it somewhat hard to believe that he has made it to almost eighth grade and he has somehow maintained his friendship with Rowley, especially with their “fight”. The series is waning, and Kinney needs to regroup and refocus if he’s going to keep his excited and loyal audience.