Good news, readers who love to laugh: It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Nope, not when we anticipate the upcoming joys of Halloween or Thanksgiving or the winter holiday season. It’s Wimpy Kid time! That glorious day every November when kidlit author extraordinaire Jeff Kinney releases the latest installment in the beloved Greg Heffley-and-gang series. So, what can we expect from the 11th episode of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down? Well, other than hints that Greg is set on filming his very own horror movie with best friend Rowley (which does indeed sound terrifying), here are five additional things that Jeff Kinney does so well that we hope Double Down will double down on.
Every Wimpy kid book is loaded with outrageous individuals, like Cabin Fever’s 5-year-old neighborhood bully, Nasty Pants, or The Third Wheel‘s Ruby Bird who gets suspended from school for biting (and leaving a tooth behind in) Mr. Underwood’s elbow, not to mention Old School‘s Silas Scratch, a disgruntled farmer who lives in the woods and survives on slugs and lurks in the underground tunnels of summer camp. We can only hope that Double Down is bursting with eccentrics as good as these.
Greg Heffley seems to be cursed with the worst, and most hilarious, luck. Remember the time in The Ugly Truth when he’s madly in love with his dental hygienist, Rachel? And then his dad unexpectedly switches him over to the evil Dr. Kagan? An oral surgeon who displays rotten teeth in jars of soda? Or that time in Dog Days when Greg finally gets a new puppy, Sweetie, but his brother brings home a monogrammed dog bowl emblazoned with “Sweaty”? Fingers crossed that Greg’s bad fortune continues in Double Down, because nothing is as funny as Greg’s misfortune.
Leave it to Jeff Kinney to always write in (and hysterically illustrate) a few animal antics in the Wimpy Kid books. Who could forget the Heffley pet pig, who learns to walk on its hind legs and comes and goes as it pleases in Old School (without a curfew, of course)? Or the lake fish in the same book that lived in the toilet at Hardscrabble Farms? Or better yet, shock-collared Rebel the Rottweiler in Hard Luck, who knew he could still relieve himself on the sidewalk without suffering an electric jolt? If there are any animals in Double Down, chances are they’ll be contributing greatly to the comedy.
For better or worse, Mom and Dad Heffley haven’t quite nailed the parenting gig. Much to readers’ delight, these two well-meaning caregivers are always botching up the business of child-rearing. Like when Dad lost his wallet in The Long Haul and couldn’t afford a car repair, leaving the Heffleys to drive home from summer vacation with the heater on full blast to avoid an overheated engine. Or in The Third Wheel when Mom insisted the whole family acknowledge and remember the names of all of Baby Manny’s imaginary friends, including Joey, Petey, Danny, Charles Tribble, The Other Charles Tribble, Tiny Jim, and Johnny Cheddar. Please oh please, Jeff Kinney! More of this parenting absurdity in Double Down!
And finally, if there’s one place things are going to go south for Greg and the gang, it’s in the school hallways. Against the background of academia, all kinds of nonsense tends to break out in the Wimpy Kid books. Like in the original series debut when Greg is voted school newspaper cartoonist, only to find out that his original strip “Creighton the Cretin” has been redrawn and renamed by the faculty to “Creighton the Curious Kid,” and features an upstanding young fellow who loves math and extra credit. Or in The Last Straw, when Greg’s crush Holly finally signs his yearbook, but only with a lukewarm “Greg, I don’t really know you all that well, but you seem O.K., I guess.” If Double Down enters the world of education, which we really hope it does, rest assured we readers will learn, all over again, how laugh-out-loud the Wimpy gang truly is.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down is in stores November 1, but you can pre-order it now!