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Mini Reviews / Dork Diaries #2 – #4

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Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl (Dork Diaries #2) / Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star (Dork Diaries #3) / Skating Sensation (Dork Diaries #4) by Rachel Renee Russell

Following my initial review of Dork Diaries, I just couldn’t help myself. My sister started reading book #2 and wouldn’t shut up about it that I continued reading and… I couldn’t stop. I read it one after another and only came to a stop because I couldn’t find book #5 at the library.

THE SERIES GETS BETTER.

If you recall, I wasn’t too crazy about the language used in this book. I don’t agree with the use of the word ‘retard’ and I didn’t like the way she treated her family. I had my fair share of concerns about this book but I’m happy to report that the series does indeed get better.

Nikki does a fair bit of growing up. She gains perspective about her parents and in particular, her father. Nikki becomes grateful towards her father for scoring her a scholarship at the school, despite her initial hatred for him because he is a pest exterminator. Sure she’s still embarrassed about the giant cockroach above his van and the fact that she needs to ride in it occasionally, but she’s not such a brat about it anymore. As far as I can remember, the language has improved a little bit, though I’m still not too crazy about it. Perhaps its written as such to make it believable that a teenager is writing this diary instead of a grown woman, but still.

My favourite so far is book 3 and 4, but I’m leaning more towards 4 because I feel that that’s where Nikki grows up the most. She becomes kind and compassionate towards other people and feels apologetic for her behaviour towards her family and other people in her life.

Is this series worth reading? Yes, yes, absolutely yes. Suitable for children aged 6 and above — but be aware: parental guidance and discussions may be required. As always, proceed with caution and do what you feel is best for your children and students.

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Dork Diaries Book 1 by Rachel Renee Russell

6054449Dork Diaries Book 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell
Dork Diaries #1

Published 2nd June 2009 by Aladdin

Goodreads

Summary:

It’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls in this hilarious novel!
Meet Nikki Maxwell! She’s starting eighth grade at a new school—and her very first diary packed with hilarious stories and art in Book One of the #1 New York Times bestselling Dork Diaries series!

New school. New mean girl. New crush. New diary so I can spill about all of it…

I put a lot of really personal stuff in this diary along with my sketches and doodles.

But, mostly it’s about how TRAUMATIC it was transferring to my new private middle school, Westchester Country Day.

And, how a lot of the CCP (Cool, Cute & Popular) kids were really SNOBBY and made my life TOTALLY miserable. People like, oh, I don’t know, maybe…

MACKENZIE HOLLISTER!!

And, it just so happened that I got stuck with a locker right next to hers. I could NOT believe I had such CRAPPY luck. I knew right then and there it was going to be a VERY, VERY long school year 😦 !

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My little sister has been reading the Dork Diaries series and I’ve always wondered about the content of these. My brother is a huge Wimpy Kid fan, and seeing how both Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries are constantly on the best sellers list, I finally decided to give it a go too.

I was pleasantly surprised at how interesting Dork Diaries is. The main character Nikki, is incredibly believable as a tween protagonist. I reminisced a lot about my own youth, and how I behaved when I wanted certain things and my own great sense of entitlement at the time. Dork Diaries has a lot of plus points: there’s so many things that we could discuss to kids about in this book, both as an educator and as a parent. It makes for good conversation, and its a book that is bound to be enjoyable for both boys and girls (albeit, leaning towards girls).

I did have my fair share of concerns, one being the use of the word retarded to describe herself, whenever she does something that’s silly. It’s not excusable. Its derogatory, its hurtful and its just not necessary. I would have preferred if she just stuck to the word “silly” to describe her own silly behaviour. Another concern is the fact that Nikki describes her parents are brain dead, for the simple reason that they do not buy her a phone despite her constant hints. Again, the language used here is very coarse and something that I don’t want younger children to use. They are not ok and it will not ever be okay.

I get the perspective that these are important key points that educators and parents can pick up and explain to them the dangers of using such hurtful words, or the concept of being rude and inappropriate but if we continually expose them in situations that “should be” taken as humour, it might be taken lightly to them too.

While I do have my concerns, Dork Diaries is still overall a very good and enjoyable book. As always, with children books, exercise with caution and always educate, educate, educate!

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