Film Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Long Haul

This weekend we went to an advance screening of the latest chapter in the Dairy of a Wimpy Kid franchise. This was hotly anticipated in our house because my kids absolutely love the other films and the books are some of the few which my reluctant reader loves. You can go along this weekend and see it as it opens in cinemas on 20th May.

In this film the Heffley family go on a road trip to his grandma’s 90th birthday party and a few things happen along the way.

One of the things which the children were worried about was whether or not a new cast would work. Greg from the other films is just more likeable somehow and the rest of the cast dont have the same chemistry as the cast from the other films. I liked Alicia Silverstones’s mum who frankly reminded me of someone I know, she even has the same glasses. However, on re-watching a bit of the first film in the franchise I can see that this cast just haven’t captured the essence of the books at all.

My daughter (8) pointed out to me that Rowley doesn’t feature really at all in this film. This is a massive shame as he does feature so heavily in the books and she would have liked to have seen more of him.

Greg is asked for a selfie thanks to his ‘diaper hands’ fame

In terms of the storyline, I enjoyed it and thought there were some laugh out loud moments. The rest of the family not so much, I think its because I haven’t read the books or really watched the other films so for me its quite a stand alone movie. A bit like National Lampoon but without the chemistry, or the 1980’s.

Its hard to review a film which is such an iconic part of a franchise and is an entirely new cast because it is never going to live up to the original. One the one hand, it wasn’t the best film i’ve watched this year, however it did have me laughing out loud at several points. On the other hand, the kids who are massive fans thought it was ok, but didn’t live up to the books and the casting didn’t quite match their expectations. As a result I’d suggest that this is a wet Sunday afternoon sort of film, its not offensive (apart from the scene with the fairground ride and sick incident which nearly caused my daughter to leave the cinema) but its not something to rush and see with high expectations.

My last thought- how did I get so old that Alicia Silverstone is now playing a mum to teenagers?

Learn to draw like Jeff Kinney:


Featured Post: Teaching Your Children How to Care for Your Family Pet

A couple of years ago we decided to get a family cat, it was one of the best family decisions we have made. The cat has enabled us to introduce looking after pets and given the children something to do and focus on when they feel stressed.

If you are planning to complete your family with a pet then the first thing you need to do is decide which one would be best for you and your current circumstances. You want your children to have an active role, so make sure you keep them in mind when making your decision.

Consider the age of your child and to what extent they will be able to help, as well as how much time and money you have and where you live.

Pets can teach children a lot as they grow up, but depending on the answers to the above questions, you may be better off adding a goldfish or hamster rather than a cat or a dog – for now. If you are in a position to get a four-legged friend with a wagging tail, then think carefully about which breed would best suit your family – perhaps you should be looking at french bulldog puppies as opposed to a border collie, for example.

Once you have chosen the pet for you and your children and introduced it into the family, you need to teach them how to care for it. So, first things first…

Talk to them…

Before you do anything else it is important to sit your children down and explain to them what having a pet will entail – why it is so important to care for them properly and what this will involve. Talk them through what a typical day might involve depending on the pet you get – what their needs will be and how you (and they) can and will fulfil them. Make sure they understand they must help with this and why.

Allow them to ask questions…

You will probably find that they have a lot of questions and it is best to answer as many as you can now. Maybe encourage them to make a few notes so they don’t forget anything important.

Walk them through it…

At first you should make sure you are completing all the day-to-day tasks with your child. If you have gone for a hamster, sit together and get him or her out to have a run in the ball, clean out the cage, fill up the food bowl, water and so on.
If you have a dog then go out for a walk and make the dinner together – ensuring you include ample time for play and teaching them new skills.

Start off simple…

Once you have done this together for a while you may start to give them jobs that they can do for themselves. Start off simple; perhaps with the hamster it is their job to fill up the food bowl, or with the dog then maybe this could be the water bowl. Understand that they may make some mistakes. If they do ensure you sit down and explain why they have and what they need to do to make sure they don’t do it again.

Create a chart of chores…

A chart that includes everything your pet needs in a day will help your child to remember. It will also ensure your pet doesn’t miss a meal because you have left it to your little one to do the feeding! Split the tasks up between you and the kids – maybe alternate the one they are in charge of. Encourage them to cross off the task when complete and then if you see it doesn’t have a cross you can check whether this is because they forgot or haven’t done it.

Of course, their level of involvement with the pet will be dependent on their age and the animal that you have. But the older they get the more involvement they can have and the more they will learn.

Book Review: Supertato Run, Veggies, Run! By Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

Every pre-schoolers favourite super hero Supertato returns with another adventure. This time its Sports Day in the supermarket and all the veggies are in training. However, there is a new competitor on the block determined to win all the prizes.

My five year old LOVES Supertato and he was thrilled to read this new story featuring The Evil Pea. Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet’s books are always laugh out loud for both adults and kids and this one is no exception. It really made us all laugh and was just a joy to read at bedtime with its bright illustrations.

If there isn’t already a category of ‘feel good books for kids’ out there, then one should be created for Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet’s books. I always turn to No-Bot or Supertato if one of the kids has had a hard day and they never fail to lift the mood in the house.

Find out more here.

Book Review: King of the Sky Written by Nicola Davies and Illustrated by Laura Carlin

King of the Sky is an Amnesty International endorsed picture book about a young boy who has started a life in a new county and feel alone and lost. The boy makes friends with Mr Evans an old man who races pigeons and they build a friendship over a shared interest in the birds and one in particular who they call King of the Sky.

This is one of those books which works on many different levels which means its an enjoyable read for your little five year old and your 10 year old. With migration and ideas behind what is meant by home so high on the agenda at the moment its a good book to read with your children. For us this came at a good time as my eldest is acutely aware of migration because he has recently made friends with a few new children who are just starting to learn English. I think it has helped him to understand how these children may feel and it has helped me to discuss the situation with him.

Nicola Davies always writes in a thought provoking manner but for us it was the illustrations that really made this such  a powerful book. Each page is a piece of art in itself and that encourages you to spend some time reflecting upon what you’ve read.

I like this book a lot, it hit a nerve at the right time and its just filled with depth which is rare for a picture book.

Book Review: The Bad Bunnies Magic Show by Mini Grey

Mini Grey produces my husband Daddacool’s favourite children’s books. He has read Three by The Sea to the children more times than they could remember and Traction Man is one of my daughters favourite books.

Personally I think that with the creation of Mr Abra and Mr Cadabra Mini Grey has upped her game yet again. These Bad Bunnies are brilliant and my kids loved them. My 10 year old thought that this was a really engaging picture book, he loved the graphics and the ways the flaps worked to imitate actual magic tricks. Its such a great idea and has inspired him to try to create his own version of a magic book.

The thing which we all loved about this book was that you could actually through the text and images and the way that the flaps worked, build into reading it a bit of showmanship and drama. It became a little performance which everyone could enjoy. We’ve read it several times and the eldest children have taken it in turns to perform it.

We are really looking forward to seeing what else the Bad Bunnies get up to next! If you’d like to find out more  have a look here.