Ellie McDoodle, Spawn of Diary of Wimpy Kid, graphic novel chapter book hybrid, chapter book, 4th grade chapter book,

Top 10: Spawn of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” Books

Books Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I think that when a chapter book series is different and successful such thatnit creates its own mini genre that this is only a good thing. Just like Harry Potter which broke publishing notions that kids won’t read very, very thick books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series also got kids wildly excited to read. And though the lead character is a boy, girls were also reading this series in droves.

I know because my oldest read this and liked it. Reluctant readers that I know stalked the local bookstore the first day a new book came out and bought a half-dozen books for friends who needed the book now. I was also on that list.

I also think that the graphics helped to legitimize graphic novels from comic book status to it-counts-for-your-reading-log status.

How about you? Once your kids read Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, what have they turned to that is similar to it? Please share!

p.s. I found lots of great books that I wasn’t familiar with at Zoo-Wee Mama! from the Santa Clara Public Library titled If You Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, You May Also Like These!

p.p.s. If your child has interest in creating his or her own graphic novel, these are great:

The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book

Your Life in Comics: 100 Things for Guys to Write and Draw

Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles Into Comics

p.p.s. Big Nate has a 2012 Calendar if you are looking for gift ideas.


Honorable Mention

Amelia’s Notebook series by Marissa Moss

Amelia is a feisty and funny 9-year-old in the first book, Amelia’s Notebook,  with a sense of humor that verges on sarcastic. This is a great easy chapter books for girls who like a graphic novel format. [graphic novel, ages 8-12]

Max’s Logbook by Marissa Moss

I like how this is a graphic novel that combines science. In this case, Max’s logbook is a science lab notebook for all kinds of experiments. My son will love this book! [graphic novel, ages 6-12]

Dragonbreath series by Ursula VernonThis is a clever chapter book/graphic novel hybrid. The graphic novel portion is diabolically clever at drawing in the reader and the short chapters of text are both funny and charming. A dragon version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. These are great chapter books for boys! [chapter book/graphic novel hybrid, ages 6-9]

10. Tales of a Sixth Grade Muppet by Kirk Scroggs

A reluctant reader that I know got this book for his birthday as it combined Diary of a Wimpy Kid, his favorite series, with his resurgent interest in the Muppets. The result: it was “Drop Everything and Read” kind of book. I hope this becomes a series. I really enjoyed this book myself and I think it would be a great chapter book for boys.

9. Click Here (to find out how i survived seventh grade) by Denise Vega

A” website” girl version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid meets How I Survived 6th Grade. [chapter book, ages 10-14]

“The blog segments and first-person narration are immediate and funny.” (Kirkus )

“Readers will relate to and sympathize with Erin’s dilemma.” (School Library Journal )

8. Stink series by Megan McDonald

Judy Moody’s pesky younger “bother” — encyclopedia in hand, zany schemes in mind, and comical comebacks at the ready — has totally come into his own with a compelling, kid-friendly early chapter book series. [chapter book, ages 5-9]

7. Ruby Lu series by  Lenore Look

A female counterpart to Lenore Look’s Alvin Ho and/or an Asian American girl version of Dairy of a Wimpy Kid that skews young. A great early chapter book for girls! [chapter book, ages 5-9]

6. Clarice Bean series by Lauren Child

We really like the Clarice Bean chapter book series and it’s great for girls who loved Charlie and Lola but have outgrown it. Lauren Child always seems to have quirky but lovable characters and Clarice Bean’s family certainly qualifies. This is the English Rose version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. [chapter book, ages 9-12]

5. Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate is a clever hybrid of graphic novel — cartoon strip style — with a traditional chapter book story. [graphic novel/chapter book, ages 8-12]

4. Ellie McDoodle series by Ruth McNally Barshaw

Our elementary school has a program where parents donate a book for their child’s birthday and new book is checked out for them for two weeks with a name plate. My daughter got Ellie McDoodle Best Friends Fur-Ever. While this wasn’t a 4th grade chapter book for her, she would have liked it maybe in 3rd grade or late in 2nd grade. I, however, thoroughly enjoyed it.

Barshaw manages to write a fast paced hybrid graphic novel/chapter book that even squeezes in science with art and even jokes! I was impressed with the range of information presented, like Achi, a tic-tac-toe on steroiods game from Ghana. (Ellie McDoodle’s words!). And, if you ever want to build a Geodesic Dome, there are instructions for that too! I’m really impressed with this series!

[graphic novel/chapter book hybrid, ages 7-10]

3. Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

An Asian American version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid that skews a bit younger. This early chapter book series is funny and great for boys. [chapter book, ages 5-9]

2. The Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell

A tween girl version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid. [chapter book, ages 10-14]

1. Middle School The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

Though this book looks like it would be fairly fluffy, it actually houses a serious story amid all the cartoon graphics about a boy coping with a less than optimal stepfather and as well as the loss of a twin brother. I really liked it and I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised since we are HUGE James Patterson fans. A serious story version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.[chapter book, ages 10-15]

Thank you to Ms. YingLing for these great additions!

The Loser List by H. N. Kowitt 

Stan and the Toilet Monster by Steve Shreve


Congrats to Alicia! She won the Big Nate Calendar!


I will be giving away the Big Nate 2012 Day-to-Day Calendar.  Please leave a comment to win. I’ll draw a winner at random on December 10th.

  To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Best Graphic Novels on Pinterest.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Dee

    Good list! I see some possible Christmas gifts.

    Help me remember – you have mentioned a series that has both graphic novels and regular novels. It might have a cat on it? I can’t remember,but I want to find it. I like the idea. I’m wondering if my son read a graphic novel a few times, if he would then read the regular novel?

    Also, have you ever recommended Missile Mouse? My son loves them. There’s only 2, plus a story in a collection.

  2. Asianmommy

    Thanks for the recs. Amelia’s Notebook looks really fun.

  3. Alicia

    Thanks for the list. My son loves Big Nate.

  4. School Library Journal recently referred to this genre as “notebook novels”. I like that. The Loser List and Stan and the Toilet Monster are two new ones my students are enjoying.

  5. Jeremiah Ozment

    My kid loved the big Nate & The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book! They already have them, I would love to have few others from the awesome list!

    Thank you for sharing!
    Jeremiah Ozment recently posted…Law Firms Search Engine Optimization – 1st Component “On Page Optimization”My Profile

    • Hi Jeremiah,
      Thanks so much! I’m glad you found the list useful. Please let me know which books your kids tried from the list and what they thought of them (good or bad). Thanks!

  6. Sammy

    Nice list! New series coming out by a couple of local authors in my town in Mass. It’s called Greedy Gross Out. I think you can get in on amazon now for kindle. I thought it was pretty funny-my kids did, too. Worth a read- always good to support local too! Lol.

    • Hi Sammy,
      Thanks so much for your wonderful book recommendation! I’ll add it to the list! Where do you live in MA? I live in Newton. I love supporting local authors as well! We have Karen Day living in Newton. Mitali Perkins just moved out of Newton and Jacqueline Davies of The Lemonade War series lives one town over in Needham. But Virginia Burton Lee used to live in Newton!! (Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel).
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Water Supply System for Kids: A Science Unit for HomeMy Profile

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