I have finally just discovered Diary of a Wimpy Kid Diary of a Wimpy Kid (I know! I had heard of it, but hadn’t read it) and I’m looking for read-alikes. I’m at the local B&N (yay for free wifi!) and their website suggested Dan Gutman’s The Homework Machine, which looks like a lot of fun. I’m looking for books that are popular and well-known among kids (and hopefully their gatekeepers)–the kinds of books that get passed from kid to kid the way Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter and Levin Thumps were. Is Homework Machine one of those (despite the fact that it has many fewer illustrations)? It seems to have had a long shelf-life at B&N at least–it came out in 2007, and here two years later it’s still getting stocked/warehoused in B&Ns in the thousands, which is pretty good for a backlist titles. I’m not talking about something as big as Wimpy Kid, necessarily–just books in the same general fun, illustrated, adventurous genre (realism or fantasy) that have staying power.

So with this in mind, what other books am I missing that are the kind of read for kids ages 7-10, with a concentration on the 8 and 9 year olds that Wimpy Kid really hits on target? It’s an interesting niche, because it hits slightly younger than the all-prose books in the same middle grade section of the bookstore, yet slightly older than the kids reading chapter books like Magic Treehouse.

I doubt we’ll find quite as many books in that range that are as highly illustrated as Wimpy Kid, but I am looking for books with illustrations.

I’m going to start compiling a list of all the suggestions from people in various places (Facebook, Twitter, this blog and its LJ mirror):

  • Supernatural Rubber Chicken by D.L. Garfinkle (except that it’s a chapter book for a slightly younger age, so perhaps it *doesn’t* meet the narrow criteria?)
  • The Homework Machine by Dan Gutman (except that it doesn’t have *as many* illustrations… you get the idea. Let’s be broad for the original list so I can go check the books out and narrow things down)
  • The Dork Diaries
  • Dear Dumb Diary
  • Flat Stanley
  • Ellie McDoodle

3 thoughts on “Read-alikes

  1. I’ve had people tell me WIMPY KID reminds them of THE PENGUINS OF DOOM. In fact, I’ve done book signings where people have handed me copies of WIMPY KID to sign.

  2. Oo! I still haven’t seen The Penguins of Doom (that’s on the TBR list but hasn’t made it to the physical pile yet) so I’m adding it to the list and I will have to find it. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  3. Thanks for the Supernatural Rubber Chicken shout out!

    My nine-year-old and his friends love the Wimpy Kid books. I agree that the Penguins of Doom book is similar– great fun and lots of illustrations. Also, the Geronimo Stilton series is similar– funny, highly illustrated books my boys loved. Though it skews a little younger than the Wimpy Kid books.

    I finished writing a new chapter book similar in tone to the SRC series that I really like and my critique group dioes too. They had some good revision suggestions. So now I just have to revise, read it to my son for critique, revise again, and send it to my agent. May it be as good and as successful as the Wimpy Kid books!

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