Don’t expect Tolkien, but this novel in cartoons will make you laugh.

Jeff Kinney is obviously still a big kid himself because he writes about the daily life of school boys with alarming accuracy.

Life as a school boy gives you plenty to deal with. You’re the target of trick-playing big brothers, you endure the misfortune of landing in your school’s gifted reading group, and you’re always on the lookout for ways to lower parental expectations (so they’ll love whatever you manage to do).

Then there’s the desperate effort to silence the embarrassing nicknames your little brother invents for you, and that fear you face when you’re banned from video games for weeks and have to rough it in the great outdoors.

There’s wrestling (ouch), high school musicals (cringe), and best friends who let you down when they won’t turn the other cheek and ‘take this one for the team’.

For kids stuck in ‘everything bad always happens to me’ syndrome, this series will give them something to laugh about… even if they won’t find much to inspire their New Year’s resolutions. But the amazing thing is the incredible world-wide impact it’s had on middle primary boys (and girls) who now think reading and writing is, well, not so bad.

The highly anticipated 5th volume “The Ugly Truth” is released November 9, 2010.

Clare Cannon lives in Sydney where she is the manager of Portico Books.

Clare Cannon lives in Sydney where she is editor of The Good Reading Guide and manager of Portico Books,...