At last week’s Chapter’s Night, I’m guessing about four hundred of us walked out with a copy. I was one. Jeff Kinney has written a new book for his Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series. This one is aptly named Cabin Fever, which is why I am as happy as my son is to have it.
Daylight savings has been ‘righted’, the days are cool and nights are long. It is also report card season. And while it is wonderful to read about all of the learning and progress happening with each of our students – it really is, you should be very proud – that reading is still being done inside, hour after hour.
Today, my two breaks included one to go outside and do some yard work (Be active!) and the other to start reading the new Wimpy Kid. Now, I assure you, most of my reading is not of this genre. However, I take my hat off to Kinney for the millions of hearty laughs he has provoked, a good portion of which came from me.
I took particular pleasure in the section where Greg, the self-imagined ‘hero’, comments on his school’s removal of play equipment from the yard. This unfolds in ridiculous but entirely credible ways, such is Kinney’s talent. It reminded me of the recent news story of an east-end school that banned all hard balls because of safety threats – no soccer balls, footballs, basketballs or tennis balls allowed. If the adults at this school had asked Gregory, or just read the book, they might have reconsidered the wisdom of their ill-considered ways (creative thinking could lead to a better solution than banning). This section also reminded me of an article by Amos Oz I recently read in UTNE called “Fanatics Attack: The Best Defense Against Extremism Includes Empathy, Imagination and a Healthy Sense of Humour” (also known as KCS Habits, I happily noticed). Humour is important indeed!
Whether you’re stuck inside, debating letting kids play with soccer balls, or trying to understand the extremists who keep creeping into our newspapers, we would do well to keep humour close at hand.
So if you were one of the four hundred who bought a copy of Wimpy Kid Thursday night, and if you thought it was just for your son or daughter, I recommend you think again. Pick any page and start reading. Chances are, it will help you with whatever serious thoughts are on your mind.
And if you’re concerned about your child reading this stuff, you can blame it on us. Find humour is something they’ve been told to do.
Assistant Head, Academics