Dog Days
by Kinney, Jeff

In the latest diary of middle-schooler Greg Heffley, he records his attempts to spend his summer vacation sensibly indoors playing video games and watching television, despite his mother's other ideas.

Jeff Kinney is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and five-time Nickelodeon Kids&; Choice Award winner for Favorite Book. Jeff has been named one of Time magazine&;s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He is also the creator of Poptropica, which was named one of Time magazine&;s 50 Best Websites. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives with his wife and two sons in Plainville, Massachusetts, where he owns a bookstore, An Unlikely Story.

Early in this hilarious what-I-did-on-my-summer-vacation account, Greg Heffley cynically records his clueless mother's promise that despite tight budgets, it would still be "the best summer ever." Boy, was she wrong! Instead, the summer brings a long list of miseries: the anxiety-provoking shower at the public pool, a falling-out between Greg and his best friend, and, worst of all, "family togetherness." Now and then, Greg stumbles across some good times, but they involve things that many middle-school guys would never admit enjoying, such as tabloids, beauty parlors, and soap operas. Kinney weaves in some real-life ironies: Greg, star of one of the best-selling kids' book series in publication, declares, "Anything that doesn't involve reading sounds pretty good to me"; he is bummed that he is not yet a reality-TV star (a real-life blockbuster movie is in the works); and he unsuccessfully attempts to become a cartoonist, which is how Kinney got his start. These nods to reality add humor and depth to this title, consistent in style and substance with previous series entries, which fans new and old will savor. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

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