Thursday, July 31, 2008
DEAR DUMB DIARY: LET'S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED by Jim Benton
A big thank you to one of the incoming fifth graders in my middle school for introducing my to the DEAR DUMB DIARY series. After reading the book and loving it, she and her mom kindly donated it to my classroom. I read it this afternoon and fell in love as well. It is the female answer to the currently popular DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series.
Jamie Kelly attends Mackerel Middle School. She opens her diary with some serious threats to anyone's personal safety if they read these secret, sacred pages. Fortunately, most folks who have the giddy pleasure of actually holding someone else's private diary in their hot little hands will risk threats of physical harm and dive right in. (Trust me, you won't be disappointed.)
Jamie's diary is filled with typical adolescent troubles - parent issues, teacher and grade problems, dreaded cafeteria food, and the hated but ever popular classmate. These may be common concerns, but Jamie's view of the world is fantastic. She is a bit warped and twisted and not above doing most anything to get life to go her way.
One of my favorite parts is when Jamie complains about her mother's numerous "Food Crimes." Let me just give you a sample. "Last night she made a casserole with 147 ingredients, and it still tasted bad. It's hard to believe that out of 147 ingredients, not one of them tasted good. Of course I ate it anyway. If you don't eat it, Mom gives you the speech on hard work and how the hungry children in Wheretheheckistan would just love her casserole. It seems to me the kids in Wheretheheckistan have enough problems without dumping Mom's casserole on them, too."
It is not just Jamie's quirky take on things that will capture reader interest, but also the terrific illustrations. She includes her own visual take on whatever she happens to describe in her daily entries. The whole thing is a hoot and a half! Thanks again for the introduction to the DEAR DUMB DIARY books.