You might have seen my review of Diary of a Wimpy Kid this week. I kept thinking about the book and laughing to myself at work/on the subway/with friends, and definitely got some weird looks. So, in an attempt to transfer my obsession with the book from my brain to yours, I’d like to throw some Diary of a Wimpy Kid trivia at you!
It says it right there on the front: BAM! “The #1 New York Times Bestseller.” Well! That’s quite the endorsement. I’m like a lemming when it comes to following the purchasing habits of the masses, so I was literally unable to resist buying Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid is impressive right off the bat. I really like the concept: a journal in both words and cartoons, kept by 7th-grader Greg Heffley. It covers a full school year, hitting a bunch of mini-stories along the way: Halloween, the school play, Christmas, a wrestling unit in P.E., writing the comic for the school newspaper, etc. There isn’t too much of a plot, but it doesn’t really matter because the writing and pictures are HILARIOUS.
There was certainly nothing wimpy about the crowd that turned out to see bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Jeff Kinney, recently. The New York Comic Convention (called Comic Con) is always packed with thousands of comic book fans, many dressed like their favorite comic book characters. So many came to hear Kinney speak at the convention on February 8, his presentation had to be moved to a bigger room. ”This is the largest crowd I’ve ever presented to!” said Kinney, who came to Comic Con to release his latest book in the Wimpy series.
Comic Con is a convention dedicated to showcasing new video games, books, comics, and cartoons. It is one of the largest comic conventions in the U.S. This year more than 77,000 people attended!
This convention of all things comic is held in the Jacob Javits Center, a humongous building with transparent glass-like walls supported by giant metal beams. The convention features computers and game systems you can interact with, as well as the creators and characters from your favorite books and comics. However, since it is such a fun place, it is really hard to get into. In fact, tickets for Kids Day, when Kinney launched his book, sold out in an hour!
It was certainly the perfect place for Kinney to begin his nationwide tour promoting his newest book in the series, The Last Straw— especially since he began his career as a cartoonist. In fact, the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid began as an online cartoon.
What IS a Wimpy Kid? Interesting words: wimpy and diary. They are not words commonly used by middle school boys. Kinney said he likes the word wimpy because it is a funny word and right away the reader knows Greg, the “wimpy” kid, is not a perfect character.
In the series, Greg’s mother buys him a red diary. Greg is quite embarrassed by it, which is why Kinney decided to use that as the book title.
Kinney said none of the characters are based on real people, but some parts of the book are related to real incidents. ”I pull the material from my childhood—funny things other people have done,” he said. “Some I just make up.”
If he had to choose, Kinney’s favorite character would be Rowley, Greg’s best friend. Rowley acts a bit young for his age and is sometimes slow to catch on to what’s happening. Readers love him for his honesty. ”He is a pure, good kid,” Kinney said.
Both girls and boys relate to the characters and are big fans, even though the main characters are boys. ”I know boys well enough, how they act and behave, so that makes it easier to write a book about a boy, rather than a girl,” Kinney said. He includes girls as characters, but he writes about them from Greg’s point of view.
During his interview with Scholastic News, Kinney offered some advice from Greg Heffley for kids going into middle school. ”It won’t last long; life will get a lot better!” he said. “Try to have fun. Middle school is tough for everyone; luckily it will be quick.”
— Matthew S., Kid Reporter
Photos Courtesy of Matthew Spana
“But the truth is, when they make a movie or a TV mini-series about me, they’ll probably just skip right over the middle school years and go right to the part where I’m famous. Seriously, who’s gonna want to see a movie about a guy who’s stuck in middle school with a bunch of half-grown morons?”
Well, 20th Century Fox is counting on LOTS of people seeing a movie about a kid stuck in middle school (whether it’s filled with half-grown morons is yet to be seen). They’re making Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series into a movie! The quote above is part of Greg’s opening dialogue, and he’s totally wrong — because those middle school years are exactly what the movie is about.
How did I get a quote from a movie that’s not out yet? This is really cool — Fox is doing on online casting call for the main character, Greg Heffley. They put the first scene of the movie up on their website and are having kids submit audition tapes online. Then anyone who visits the website can watch the audition tapes – kind of like American Idol for male actors age 10-13, except it’s not on television and you can’t call in and vote and there’s no Simon Cowell (thankfully!) or Paula Abdul and . . . Okay, so maybe it’s nothing like American Idol. But some guy out there is going to go from regular middle-schooler to movie star. And I hope he’s keeping a diary (or as Greg would insist, journal) in case someday someone wants to make a movie about when he became famous!
And for all those Wimpy Kid fans who aren’t wannabe-movie stars, Jeff Kinney has more Wimpy Kid books planned — one that will be out in the fall of 2009 and one in 2010, which will hold you over until the movie comes out. If you’re not a fan of the series yet, you should be. Check out this video trailer for the books and go get reading!
— Carly H., STACKS Staffer
UPDATE 3/22: Check out all our Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie coverage including movie clips, a chat with Jeff Kinney and Zach Gordon, a sneak peek at Jeff Kinney’s new book, a trivia quiz, and interviews with the actors!