Every kid, teacher, librarian, parent and grandparent on the planet knows about the Wimpy Kid series. It’s number 1 on every reluctant reader list, so I mention it, but it’s not on my list. I’ve tried to get at some of those lesser known books that are sure to be a big hit for those kids who loved Wimpy Kid and don’t know where to go next.
Stick Dog by Tom Watson
Stick Dog is drawn from the imagination of a boy that doesn’t have the best artistic talents. He makes it clear that you, the reader, just have to deal. Each Stick Dog story has one theme. Dogs are hungry. Dogs will do whatever it takes to get food. Each book is a food adventure starring Stick Dog and his 4 stick dog friends.
Timmy Failure by Steven Pastis
Timmy Failure has an unfortunate name. Maybe. He’s the worst, or best, kid detective in the country. It depends on who you ask. There’s no disputing that Timmy thinks he’s pretty awesome and everyone else is an amateur. If only his lazy polar bear sidekick would pull his weight, he could really be great. Oh, and he needs to do better in school too.
Hamstersaurus Rex by Tom O’Donnell
There’s a mutant hamster on the loose at Horace Hotwater Middle School, and there’s a race to find him. Sam has Rex’s best interests at heart and simply wants to capture him and save him from the self-appointed hamster monitor and the class bully. Rex responds by getting Sam out of some pretty tough spots.
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett
When Miles starts at a new school, he’s determined to make his mark as the best prankster the school has ever seen. Unfortunately, they already have a prankster. And he’s good. Miles is determined to go it alone and be the best. At the end of the first book and in those that follow, Miles and Niles team up and become a force to be reckoned with.
The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
A paper origami Yoda finger puppet is the star in this series. Dwight is the creator, but he’s not too bright, so all the kids are skeptical about how the Yoda puppet gives such great advice. In book 1, Tommy analyzes each individual case to figure out if Yoda is real. Dwight’s nemesis attempts repeatedly to get him in trouble, but that doesn’t stop other Star Wars origami creations from showing up in the sequels.
The Tapper Twins by Geoff Rodkey
Claudia and Reese Tapper are more than twins. They are always trying to outcompete one another. Whether it’s a school election or YouTube popularity contest, Claudia can’t stand to be upstaged by her brother. It reads like a reality TV interview. It’s a different concept, complete with texting windows and screenshots. In sync with today’s culture.
Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
Nikki Maxwell keeps a diary and she doodles a lot. She has mega drama in her life, and she keeps track of it all in her diary. There’s her two best friends Zoey and Chloe. There’s the evil popular girl, Mackenzie, who makes her life miserable. And there’s her crush Brandon. Nikki tends to get into all sorts of crazy situations, but intrestingly they are relatable.
The Creeper Diaries by Greyson Mann
You don’t have to be a Minecraft fan to enjoy this series, but Minecrafters will love seeing their favorite mob characters in story format. It’s told from the point of view of a creeper named Gerald. His challenges are getting along with his siblings and trying to fit in at mob school with the skeletons, witches, zombies and other mobs.
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara
When Tom’s evil brother, Mark, kills Frankie the goldfish, as part of a science experiment, he and his friend Pradeep manage to shock Frankie back to life with a battery. But Frankie’s changed. He’s a zombie goldfish with hypnotic powers and he’s out to get revenge. Mark continues to be evil and has his own plans for what to do with Frankie.