Diary of a Wimpy Kid 16: Big Shot

diary of a wimpy kid volume 16 big shot cover greg heffley jeff kinney
7.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 7/10

Decent entry with a theme familiar to a lot of readers

The basketball tournament portion goes on a bit too long

Book Info

Book Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid 16:  Big Shot

Publisher: Abram Books

Writer: Jeff Kinney

Artist: Jeff Kinney

Release Date: October 26, 2021

diary of a wimpy kid volume 16 big shot basketball tournament greg heffley

If parents actually responded like this, it would save kids a lot of grief

Greg Heffley has never been what you’d call “sporty”, but he has dreams of the fame, money, and popularity that comes with being a sports star.  After a disastrous school field day, Greg’s mother decides he needs to a real team sport.  With the school basketball team out of the question, Greg finds himself roped into a club league meant to showcase one of the school’s most prominent players.  When plans go sideways, Greg discovers himself on a losing team…and he cannot be the biggest loser!

Written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Volume 16:  Big Shot is a young-adult illustrated comedy book.  The book follows Diary of a Wimpy Kid Volume 15:  The Deep End from 2020 and was released on October 26, 2021.

I have followed the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series since its release.  With the COVID-19 outbreak, I skipped the previous volume and gave myself a breather.  The series started out rather clever and hit some bumps, but it has largely remained consistent.  Greg Heffley is a character that now has been around for almost fifteen years…and it appears that he is still going strong.

diary of a wimpy kid volume 16 big shot greg heffleys mom basketball

No pressure, Mom

It feels like Kinney has hit upon most seminal points in young adult life over the course of the fifteen books, but there hasn’t really been much focus on sports.  It is obvious that Greg is not athletic and not particularly motivated to be so…but even the non-athletic kids get involved in athletics at some point.  As pointed out, soccer (or football overseas) is often a gateway sport because it is largely a loose team game for younger players who can do what they want before formal instruction kicks in.

The book starts out focusing on these type of sports (and school “event” sports), and Kinney’s observations feel real and genuine.  As someone who played soccer for years and quit playing baseball after pee-wee because pee-wee didn’t keep score, I feel Greg and his frustration with knowing you are never going to be a sports star no matter how hard you practice.  I do think it was a missed opportunity to dive into the e-sports debate (maybe a future book)…Greg would be all about that.

diary of a wimpy kid 16 big shot underdog poster jeff kinney greg heffley

The next Disney+ movie…

Basketball is the solution, but basketball is one of the more “natural” skill sports in high school.  It seems like there are kids who are destined to be basketball stars and those who try to shoehorn themselves into the role often fail miserably.  It was always going to be a failure situation with the basketball team, and I feel that it goes on a bit too long.  Greg’s motivation to stay on the team (his mother) is strong, but I don’t know that as a teen, he wouldn’t have just found a means to bail on the event (or at least try more).  I do like however that the book has a central theme…the episodic volumes of the series are generally less successful.

Overall, the book remains a solid and quick read as the previous entries were.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid is best in small doses and the yearly release schedule that the series has fall into is probably the best set-up for it to keep fresh in the minds of the readers while giving enough time between to want to read a new one.  Kinney has probably aged out of at least two sets of readers since the series started, so it will be interesting to see if Greg has the staying power he seems to have.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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