Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School is the 10th journal in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. It was released on Tuesday, November 3rd 2015.
- Greg Heffley
- Frank Heffley
- Silas Scratch (Main Antagonist)
- The Heffley's Pig
- Manny Heffley
- Rodrick Heffley
- Susan Heffley
- Rowley Jefferson
- Billy Rotiner
On Sunday, Greg talks about how his parents say about how the older days were better, and he is sure of the reason why they think that way: Greg thinks they are just jealous of all the technology and says that maybe in the future we won't have to use our legs for getting around. He talks about how Susan remembers happily how everyone in her town knew each other, but Greg worries that if that applied, the neighbors would ruin his privacy. He then narrates how Susan thinks that technology is separating the people and preventing them from meeting each other, (which Greg thinks is good), leading her to write a petition to turn all their electricity off for two days to get to know each other, she needs a hundred signatures but not many people want to sign, and every time she shows them the petition, Greg and Rodrick pretend they don't know her. Greg thinks that in the olden days, nobody was happy as nobody in black-and-white photos were smiling. He then (mistakenly) states humans need modern technology to survive nowadays, and predicts human beings would not have spines a thousand years from now. He then moves on to baby wipes. He believes they are a very good invention and thinks they should have been invented the same time as the light bulb. He thinks if he had his way, he'd buy every crazy luxury invention, but if Susan had her way, there would be no computers, cell phones or baby wipes, and he sees baby wipes as a priority. The next day, Greg tells about how his dad said that when he was growing up, kids played outside all day in the summer, which was the opposite of Greg's summer, spent in Film Camp, which is a place to watch movies, but most of the other viewers are rowdy younger children and when he goes out it takes half an hour to adjust to the sunlight. He then talks about their pet pig, which he believes should not eat at the table or he'll think he's a human. The pig can already walk on his hind legs, due to Susan feeding him cookies every time he does so. To make it worse, Manny put a pair of his shorts on the pig, so, as Greg puts it, it's like living with a Disney character. Since being able to walk upright, the pig refuse to wear collars or leashes, so sometimes he takes walks, annoying Greg as he has a curfew but the pig doesn't. He fears pigs will eventually rule the world. When he goes to school, it is boring so he signs up for the Homework Buddies Program to skip music class with Mrs. Graziano, who is grumpy and used to be Frank's teacher. Greg's Homework Buddy is a boy called Frew who likes science and is very fast and good at geography and math. Frew writes his own paper, which Greg takes the credit for, and he imagines Frew winning the Nobel Prize. On Wednesday, they raise the rent at Leisure Towers, so Grandpa moves in. Frank disapproves, but Susan says as a child, her grandparents lived in the same house as her. Greg thinks that in those days, they would have had to bathe Grandpa. Grandpa chooses Greg's bedroom, leaving Greg having to share with Manny, and he's bothered by the long bedtime stories. Frank has been very stingy as he is worried Grandpa disapproves of how the Heffley brothers are raised. Manny has been peeing under the recliner due to No Pants After Dinner, and Frank hates it when one of his sons screws up. Greg could not open a microwave burrito so Susan did it for him, but Frank said Greg better learn to open them as if Greg was stranded on a desert island with a thousand microwave burritos he'd starve to death because he couldn't figure out how to open them, however getting stranded on a desert island with a thousand microwave burritos is unlikely. Frank also takes down the chart for the morning routine and Greg, distracted, puts socks on over his shoes. That morning Greg forgets to put the toothpaste cap back on, and his dad says that if the Heffleys were in frontier times and it was Greg's job to tighten the bolts on the wagon wheels but he forgot to, the wheels would fall off and the family would get eaten by wolves. Frank says that Rodrick needs to pay for his own gas and to do that, he needs a job. Susan puts him in the Help Wanted section, and he is employed at the Old-Timey Ice Cream Parlour. Greg went to that place for Rowley's last birthday, but he doesn't like it due to the forty flavors of ice cream all mixed together in the "Feeding Trough" and the staff looking bored when they sing for someone's birthday. On Saturday night, they visit Rodrick, who is a dustman, which Susan does not like. They eat ice cream, but Greg is not hungry. On Monday, Grandpa says when he was a kid, kids spent most of their time playing Kick the Can. Greg and Rowley had tried that once, but quit to play Twisted Wizard after thirty seconds. Frank says that as a kid, he and his best friend Giles would play make-believe in the woods. Greg and Rowley tried, but Mr.Jefferson didn't want them to. Frank then says nowadays, parents are overprotective and as kids, he and Giles roamed free. Susan says it was safer back in those days, but Frank says as kids he and Giles buried weapons all over town to protect themselves. Grandpa says the then-boys actually hid silverware to fight with, but had to bring them back, so they used plastic utensils, they then argued about if they'd be efficient and Frank poked Giles in the butt with a spork and Giles's mother spanked him. To get Grandpa to move out so he doesn't have to share with Manny and Grandpa (who mopes around the house in his bathrobe), Greg wants him to be dating as he and Darlene broke up, but he online dates fifty women. Rodrick gets a promotion to dress up as the mascot Old-Timey Tobias, who is not allowed to be seen without his head, and the children hate him. Rodrick drinks through his costume's left eye. Greg wonders if the previous Tobias quit on purpose. On Friday, Greg talks about the popularity of Hardscrabble Farms, where he doesn't want to go. Susan wants him to go, but Greg doesn't want to as Rodrick's letters are all "Help help get me out of here", and when he went he stayed in bed for two days afterwards. All the students are looking for a good cabin, and Rowley is looking for someone to bunk with him. Greg then narrates how his parents got a letter from school saying they had to come in for a parent-teacher conference. He worries he forgot to cross Frew's name off of his assignments and was in trouble, but really it was that they were putting him in harder classes, which makes Greg worry about tests, but Susan says it is good news they need to celebrate, by going to the Old-Timey Ice Cream Parlour. Grandpa stays, supposedly due to ice cream making his gums hurt. Greg tries using that as an excuse, but Susan would have none of that. At the restaurant, Rodrick has never showed up. The Heffleys search, and find him walking along the side of the highway. It turns out there was a traffic jam, about to make him late, so he got into a car-pool lane where he could go faster, but the rule was that there needs to be more than one person in the vehicle, so he used his Tobias head as another "passenger", but a cop pulled him over and gave him a hundred dollar fine, then found a broken taillight and an expired inspection sticker, so he towed Rodrick's van, leaving Rodrick to have things thrown at him by children in the vehicles. They Heffleys drive home to wash Rodrick's costume, but at home there are cars all over the place. In the yard, all Grandpa's online dates are having a party, which Frank stops, then Frank tells Grandpa off and puts him in time-out, however he only meant to invite one lady, but accidentally hit "send all" and everyone showed up at once, and then it had escalated into a party. That night, Greg finds two party guests in Manny's closet, surprising him. On Tuesday, Greg talks about how now Grandpa is not meant to be home alone, and is supposed to have a time-out for an hour a day, but watches T.V. while in time-out, so if you are watching him, you need to watch what he wants to watch. During the school day, Grandpa is home alone, as both parents are at work, Greg and Rodrick are in school and Manny is in preschool, so Frank installs a webcam, which he uses against Greg as well. Greg dislikes that as he has enough trouble with cameras in shops. He then remembers how two women named Carla and Nancy photographed his swimsuit falling down a little and put them on the Internet. Also, he remembers a few months ago, when the Heffleys went to brunch after church and he took a photo of himself with Susan's phone to see if he had spinach in his teeth, but the lady in front of him thought he was taking a photo of her and would not let them leave until she looked through the pictures on Susan's phone to make sure he hadn't. Greg thinks maybe that's what started Susan on the no-technology thing. This reminds him of the fact that all the ladies at Grandpa's party signed her petition and the unplugging will be that Saturday. He then says unplugging is a bad idea as their town would be the last to know if there was a zombie apocalypse. On Friday, the citizens were supposed to clean up a playground that went to the dogs due to lack of money and the cellphone path ends at the creek. On Saturday, everything is unplugged, and a lot of people are out walking. Frank suggests Greg open a lemonade stand like he and Giles did, and gives him twenty dollars in seed money. Greg calls Rowley to be the partner and as the boys have no computers at the moment they decide to wing the recipe and buy all the lemons in the store and drop them all into the jug. To make up for it, they add a whole bag of sugar. But Frank points out they had also bought limes, so they had to get rid of those, and they also had to actually juice the lemons. Rowley is scared they'd make his eyes water, but Greg says no, that's onions, but puts a snorkel on Rowley, then gets juice in his eye, and Rowley says "I told you so". The boys then set up the stand. Business does not go so good. One lady told them they needed to mix it, but did not want some even when they did that, a few other people said it was too sweet, so Greg got more water from the hose, but people didn't like where he got it from. One man did not like the fact the boys were using the same glass, despite the fact they were rinsing it. They try waiting inside and putting in a pay jar, but a boy on a skateboard doesn't pay, so they go back. They start paying fifty cents for the people going down the hill and a dollar for those going up as the latter looked thirstier. A few people also start tipping. However, Cedric Cunningham sets up another lemonade stand, which is much fancier and for a sick cat. The boys then decide to sell water so there are two drink options, so they call it N.R.G Fitness Water to make it sell. To prove it is "fitness water", Greg has Rowley do jumping jacks and push-ups near the stand, but he gets out of breath. They ask a muscular man to tell customers he got that muscle by drinking the water, but he was not interested. One man wanted to do that, but he was not muscly so he got paid to tell folks he didn't drink the water. They move their business to the park, Rowley taking a drink halfway, where lots of people drink the water due to a broken fountain, but Susan says paying people who are volunteering is tacky. Greg disagrees as hydrated people work twice as fast, and they argue. While they are arguing, the flowerbed workers use the water to water the plants. Greg is about to refill the bottles, but Susan wants them to help. Greg does not want to as he is a "businessman", but Rowley helps. Susan says Greg should too as she has fond memories of taking Little Greg to the park, and if they didn't clean it, other family members with kids would not have the same happy times. Greg tries to do cleaning, but little kids play in the fertilizer and the leaves, making a mess. Soon, everything is chaos and a bus full of teenagers in orange jumpsuits with crime histories shows up. They begin to fight, but then a troop of Girl Scouts show up. They organize the helpers into several teams, the leader of Greg's leaf-raking team being a Brownie, and even sell cookies and help with the community garden. Greg says that would not work with boys his age. Frew gets asked a bunch of questions by grown-ups. Once raking is over, they change groups, so Greg dashes for the creek, remembering how he used to catch minnows and then pretend to swim while on swim team, but eventually got busted as Frank showed up early. Frew follows, as some of the adults were being a bit annoying, and then a boy from Community Service (at first thought to by Greg to be a bear) shows up. It is Rodrick's friend Billy Rotner who stole gummy worms a month ago, and Greg is worried Billy will get them all in trouble. But Billy says he is running away, and says that the reason why he stole the gummy worms, was because when he was little, his mother bought him and his brother a pack of gummy worms to share, but his brother ate the whole pack, and since he has never eaten sour gummy worms before. Then Frew tells about how he wakes up at five every morning to study geography, and while he doesn't mind that in itself, he wishes he could play laser tag but has never gotten to as his parents say it is a waste of time. Greg feels sad and decides to go back, but the Brownie shows up and all three boys take off and run. Soon, all the Girl Scouts are after them. Greg worries about he and Frew harboring a fugitive and wonders if Girl Scouts can arrest. Billy leads the way. Soon, they are ahead of the Girl Scouts and eat some cookies Billy had. Billy then says that they should take their clothes off to throw off any dogs. Frew and Billy strip down to their underwear, but Greg does not want to take advice from a criminal. He tries to leave, but Frew says they should stick together so they could run away and maybe even join the circus. Billy gets inspired and wonders if people will make a movie about them. Suddenly, Susan and the Girl Scouts show up and Greg blames Billy. It turns out Susan changed her mind about electronics and put a tracking device on Greg's shoelace.
Since the park incident, Frank has become very stingy and believes both Greg and Grandpa need to be watched. Greg starts to think there's a camera in Manny's stuffed duck. Luckily for Greg, Susan takes Frank to the airport on a business trip on Friday morning, and, also on Friday morning, Greg tries to cap his toothpaste tube after brushing his teeth, but drops the cap in the sink, where it bounces and falls down the drain. Greg tries to fish the cap out with a cotton swab, but all he fishes up is hair and gunk, and he guarantees the reader he will never be a plumber. He opens the cabin under the sink, and reads one of Frank's plumbing books, but can't make sense of it so he decides to wing it. He takes out a plastic tube, but water sprays out and by the time he shuts off the valve, there is a puddle on the floor. He dries it up, but it leaks into the kitchen. Grandpa drives Greg into town to buy paint that would hide the water stain, but he has no license, so he clips a trash can and a mailbox. He then takes the exit ramp instead of the entry ramp and then the car conks out because they are out of gas. Grandpa walks to the service station, leaving Greg in the car. Then, the community service gang, including Billy, shows up. Greg locks the doors, hides beneath the dashboard, holds his breath and prays. The community service crew eats lunch on the car and leaves, leaving a mess. Greg tries to pull himself up by holding the handle as his legs are asleep but accidentally shifts the car into neutral and it rolls forward. Grandpa shows up, and Greg swerves the car into a ditch, so Susan comes two hours later with the towing company. The fender is broken, and Greg decides to go to Hardscrabble Farms to escape. Campers must bring bug spray, hiking boots, a raincoat, a canteen, a day pack, jeans, a plastic bag, sunscreen, toiletries and wool socks each, and electronic devices and "junk" food are not allowed. He uses Rodrick's (stinky, due to a rotten sandwich) bag of supplies and packs three packs of Freshies, tossing the raincoat, and says that when/if he is rich as an adult, he'd have as many packs of baby wipes as he wants. Grandpa gives Greg the family's Essential Book For Young Lads, which looks outdated to Greg. At school, Greg wonders if he's unprepared, because all the other children had a whole lot of gear, and the stuff takes half the space in the bus, forcing the kids to double up on seats. Greg also notices the kids leaving the group look like they are scared of something and glad to be leaving, and a boy at the back is holding a sign, on which is written "BEWARE OF SILAS SCRATCH". A boy standing next to Greg says his older brother went to Hardscrabble Farms a few years ago and told him all about this farmer named Silas Scratch who lived at Hardscrabble Farms a long time ago, but the county came in and kicked him off his land. Another boy says he heard that after that happened, Silas Scratch went to live in the forest, where he survived by eating slugs and berries. Then Melinda Henson says that she heard that during that time, he went crazy and grew his fingernails really long. Mr. Healey says that a kid named Frankie was traumatized when he saw Silas Scratch's shack in the woods when he was a child. Then, Mrs. Graziano goes over the rules, and the chaperons go through everyone's bags, confiscating any sugary food, namely Mike Barrows's Swedish Fish and Duane Higgins's giant chocolate-chip cookie. Mr. Jones skips Greg's luggage. They then have hot dogs, baked beans and stuffed peppers for lunch, after which they scrape the leftovers into a pot. Greg doesn't like stuffed pepper. He asks Mr. Healey why they put leftovers in a pot and he replies the leftovers get used for stew the next meal. The female chaperons lead the girls into their cabin, and Susan almost, but not quite, volunteers, and Greg wishes she had, because he is seeking love advice. In the groups, the troublemakers are spread out, and Mr. Nuzzi's strict group is the only one that has more than one troublemaker. Greg's group has Rowley and has Mr. Jefferson as the chaperon. One nervy kid named Julian Trimble is in Greg's group. They pick out beds, but bedding is unavailable, Greg picks a top bunk in case Julian wets the bed. Mr. Jefferson bunks underneath him. During the Trust Fall, Jordan Lankey does his fall when the others are not ready, and Jeffrey Swanson does his, but makes them collapse as he is a large boy, Rowley and Gareth Grimes crash into each other, lodging Gareth's tooth into Rowley's forehead, so he has to go see a doctor or, as Greg says, maybe a dentist. During the Bucket Brigade, they spill the water. They then tie each other together, but can't get untied, which is unfortunate as Timothy Ames needs to use the bathroom. At dinner, it is chicken patties, corn on the cob and stew, which Greg skips. Jordan finds a taco shell in his stew. After dinner, they check each other for ticks. Greg remembers swallowing a live spider in the woods. A beetle climbs into a boy's ear. Everybody except Greg goes crazy because a tick was on Julian and they wrestle with each other when Mr. Jefferson is gone, and then get dirty and go to bed early. The next day, Mr. Jefferson wakes the boys up at the crack of dawn, and they shower in the water, but the staff doesn't know that it actually had the other boys' sweat in it, but Greg knows so he wipes himself with baby wipes in the bathroom. At breakfast, the pancakes are hard as rocks. Mrs. Graziano says they were going to work like farm children. They move the hay bales, and Mr. Nuzzi's group move them back. Greg flashes back to when he was assigned a "secret mission" to deliver a note as a first-grader, and then another note but they were blank, the reason for the mission, being Susan was worried about his self-esteem, which is why Greg doesn't take work seriously. The boys then paint a fence, repair a stone wall and stack firewood. Gareth then trips over a rock, and Emilio sees the scrapes on it and says Silas Scratch did it. Jeffrey theorizes that it is his gravestone, and they are now cursed, but Greg says that it would be good if he was dead, and for it to be his grave, he'd have had to bury himself, but then Gareth theorizes that Silas Scratch was undead. Someone thought they saw Silas Scratch, and someone else thought they saw him on the other side of camp at the same time, then Albert Sandy theorizes Silas moves through the pipes, making the kids too scared to use the bathrooms. The next day, after farm chores, Greg takes a nap, while Gareth, Jeffrey and Jordan are sick of stew so they (without tackle or a fishing pole) catch a fish from the river, using Jeffrey's shirt as a net. Nobody wants to eat it, so they put it in the toilet. Greg tries to get a bucket so he can put it back, but Mr. Jefferson shows up, asking where Greg the others are as Julian, Graham and the other one are absent and the three impromptu fishermen are still in the bathroom. Greg asks him to check the river, so he leaves. Mrs. Graziano hands out letters. Susan's letter reads "Dear Gregory, We miss you so much! Can't wait until you're back home. Hope you are having a wonderful time! Hugs+kisses, Mom." and makes Greg choked up. Rodrick's letter, Greg doesn't like and it reads "Dear Greg, I found your candy bars. Here, you can smell the wrappers. Har, har, har. Frank, Grandpa and Manny didn't send him letters, but he is sent a joke letter from the pig, reading "OINK OINK OINK". Julian cries after getting a photo of his mother and dog. One boy reads his letter to the kids without letters, which says "I made you a batch of your favorite cookies and put them in the fridge for when you get home! Love, Mom." A few kids get care packages, Graham Bertran gets a very large one. At the cabin, it is revealed Graham mailed the box to himself, and he shares the food he got. Mr. Jefferson is mad at the boys due to the fish and thinks it is a practical joke by Greg so Greg has to stay behind. The next day, a lot of the kids are homesick, and Melinda Henson makes herself sick (but only for two hours) with stew. Julian makes himself sick by eating deodorant, leading the chaperons to take all the deodorant away. (The reason Melinda and Julian were making themselves sick was because being sick was the only reason for going home.) By the time Julian's Mother drives away, Julian has made a full recovery. The next morning, Rowley returns and gives Gareth his tooth in a jar back to him. The kids are going to spend the last night outdoors. Mr. Jefferson uses his phone to research how to light a fire, distracting the kids as they watch videos of screaming goats. Mr. Jefferson then tells the kids to get kindling, but nobody knows what kindling is, so Rowley throws weeds on the fire, which smothers it. The next morning, Rowley and Mr. Jefferson need to go home as the weeds were poison ivy, and Mr. Jefferson even got some of the fumes in his lungs. Greg's group is at a loss for how to build a rain shelter and the other groups don't want to share their methods. Another group raids Greg's cabin, takes Graham's snacks and clog the toilet with Greg's baby wipes, which wets everything in his duffle bag except Grandpa's book, which Greg reads and it has info like how to build a potato radio, and (ironically) how to identify poison ivy. Greg's group light a fire with the sun and Emilio's glasses, but they break. Back at the cabin, the cabin is really stinky, so they mop up the water with dirty clothes and put them in trash bags, but the boys themselves stink. Jordan suggests stealing the girls' deodorant, but other boys think girls don't use deodorant. Emilio says he could uses his sense of smell to lead a raid, so they test his smell and he smells everything right. But Mr. Nuzzi checks on them, and scares them inside with the threat of trouble and Silas Scratch. He then sprinkles baby powder around the cabin. Everyone freaks out, but Greg reads in the chapter Hiding Your Numbers of the book, so Greg puts on Mr. Nuzzi's hiking boots and steps in Mr. Nuzzi's tracks. Everyone takes turns, Emilio on Jeffrey's back. But then they are lost, and Jeffrey makes it worse by bringing Silas Scratch up. Emilio smells a girls' cabin fifty feet away, and they go in, but the Girl Scouts are inside. After that, the boys make a dash for it, but Graham had swiped a bag and Mrs. Graziano finds them and chews them out and Frank is sent to chaperon them. On Sunday, Frank is very grumpy as he is mad at Greg about the car, he has to babysit seven middle schoolers, the children hadn't showered, and the toilet was not working. Frank had been there before, and one of the chaperons remembers him and welcomes him back. Frank does not want to help them set up. They build a waterproof lean-to from instructions from Grandpa's book. At dinner, the Silas Scratch thing crops up again and another group are scared as they apparently found an old shack while gathering firewood that the were 99% sure belonged to Silas Scratch. Frank adds to it by saying two kids disappeared there. After dinner, Mrs. Graziano tells the kids to take what they need outside. A few kids beg to sleep inside but get told no. When it is dark, the other boys are too scared to fetch sticks, despite the fact that the fire is dying down. Greg goes to look for firewood, but gets lost, and gets a shock when he sees an old shack with "BEWARE TURN BACK" written on it, and the front door is barred shut, but there's a metal door at the back, and inside a light bulb is on and there are a bunch of tools in the place which don't even look old. He then discovers the shed has a bathroom with expensive toilet paper, but then hears whistling and bumps into Frank, who was in the shower. Frank tells Greg that when he went to Hardscrabble Farms, the bathroom situation was worse, with just an outhouse for a toilet and no shower, they just washed in the river. Young Frank discovered the shed, and decided to keep it a secret so he made up the Silas Scratch story. It rains and by the time the Heffleys go back to camp, the fire is out and the book is there, all burnt up, the lean-to had been picked apart for firewood, and they all go back and sleep in the cabin. On Monday morning, the children pack, and go outside. Everyone except Greg's group looks like "a wreck" as Greg puts it, due to being all wet from the rain. Jeffrey, Emilio, Graham, Gareth, Jordan and Timothy say they are lucky they survived Silas Scratch. Greg wants to tell the truth but doesn't because he worries about being stuck chaperoning the place as an adult. He gets driven home with Frank, and sets up the Silas Scratch message again.
Life was better in the old days. Or was it?
That’s the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn’t cut out for an old-fashioned world.
With tension building inside and outside the Heffley home, will Greg find a way to survive? Or is going “old school” just too hard for a kid like Greg?
- On pages 147 & 148, there is a Rowley and other characters are shown too tall. This error also happened on page 55 where Frank is shown too tall.
- On pictures of the playground, the slide was built wrong.
- On page 108, it says "I guess I feel a little bad, but to be fair, stealing the Thin Mints was Billy's idea." However Billy Rotner only stole gummy worms and the Thin Mints could well have been paid for.
- This is the third book where there are missing months from the previous book, July and August are missed from The Long Haul, the first being Rodrick Rules which misses July and August from the first book, and the Long Haul which misses May from Hard Luck.
- On page 4, Susan is shown too short.
- The book was released in more than 90 countries and territories around the world, setting a publishing record. [confirmation needed]
- This is the first book where The Heffleys' Pig has a role where he is in the Heffley family.
- This is the second time Disney is mentioned.
- This is one of the few books where Frank is not an antagonist.
- This is the 3rd time Fregley makes no appearances. The first one in Rodrick Rules, the second one in The Long Haul.
- This is the first time the antagonist is an entire fantasy.
- This is the only book to have a different font in a different color scheme.
- It is unknown if Rodrick got to keep his job at the Old-Timey Ice Cream Parlor or not.
- This is the 3rd book where blood is shown in the series. The first time is in Hard Luck and the second in The Long Haul.
- This is the second book where Rowley is not seen on the title page.
- This is the first book that has a reptile skin design.
- This is the first book where the book's title (Old School) is written in color on the cover.