Debate whether it counts as comics or not, one thing is certain: Jeff Kinney’s WIMPY KID series is HUGE. The sixth book in the series is out this November with a massive 6 million copy first printing, the biggest release of 2011.

The storyline finds the Heffley family suffering from cabin fever as they’re stuck inside during a huge blizzard. The theme says, Kinney is “being stuck inside the identity you create for yourself.”

The release will be supported by a series of “Snowball in July” pr events.

Since its debut in 2007, the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series has become a publishing phenomenon with more than 50 million books in print. It began as a webcomic on a children’s website, and has spawned two movies, board games, and its own island on Poptropica.

Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, revealed today in a major press announcement the title, first-printing quantity, and cover of the sixth Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. CABIN FEVER will have the largest first printing of any title in the series to date, with more than 6 million copies, making it the largest print publishing release of 2011 when it goes on sale Tuesday, November 15. The cover color is ice blue, which complements the red, blue, green, yellow, and purple of the first five #1 bestselling books. Cabin Fever follows the sales and publicity momentum of the March 2011 release of the #1 bestseller the Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, a journal filled with interactive pages and space for readers to record their own stories. In Cabin Fever, the Heffley family is stuck indoors during a blizzard. But will they weather the storm?

“A very tough New England winter inspired me to snow the Heffley family in for the holidays,” said Jeff Kinney. “‘Cabin fever’ refers to the claustrophobia Greg feels, as well as the broader theme of the book. . . that you’re trapped by the identity you create for yourself.”

Six summer “snowball” events will be announced in July. Featuring the oversized Wimpy Kid Snow Globe that premiered at BookExpo in New York in May, and much more, the events will thrill fans with treats and special book previews. The wide reach of the release of the title will continue in August as kits with branded materials are mailed to booksellers and librarians to help build awareness and excitement.

“This is clearly the most anticipated book of 2011, with the largest initial print run,” said Michael Jacobs, President and CEO of Abrams. Jeff Kinney’s millions of fans are eager with anticipation, and the release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever will be an elating experience for them. We’re thrilled to bring millions of kids—and their parents, caregivers, librarians, teachers, and friends—the book this fall, and believe that our laydown of Cabin Fever will help make this holiday season a great one for booksellers. Our pre-sales and marketing campaign over the next few months will help build that excitement and anticipation for our laydown of Jeff’s next number-one bestseller.”

Books in the core Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney include Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2008), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw (2009), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2009), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth (2010). Jeff Kinney has also written and illustrated The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book and The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary. The series is a fixture on the USA Today bestseller list (the first book in the series has remained in the top 150 for more than 200 weeks) and the Wall Street Journal and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists. It has also remained consistently in the top spots on the New York Times lists since publication of the first book in the series.

More than 50 million Diary of a Wimpy Kid books are in print in the United States and Canada. The books have been sold in more than 36 countries in 35 languages around the world. Published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS, Kinney’s work has been widely praised for its ability to turn reluctant readers onto books. Jeff Kinney was named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people in the world. The first movie based on the books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, grossed more than $75 million worldwide in box office sales, and the second movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, was the #1 movie at the box office in its opening weekend in theaters. The book series won Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2010 and 2011, and Jeff Kinney was nominated for a Children’s Choice Book Award in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Books in the series have won numerous awards voted on by students and teachers in schools around the globe. In March 2011, the first-ever Wimpy Kid Island, Wimpy Wonderland, debuted on www.poptropica.com.


  1. Wimpy Kid totally counts as a comic. I’m holding Volume 5 in my hand right now, and on page 125 there are two images which work in sequence (complete with word balloons). The first has Greg playing games as his brother commands him to get him some ice cream. Greg refuses. The second image has his bro starting to count down from ten as Greg zips out of the room (complete with speed line and sound effect). What’s more, the accompanying prose doesn’t fully describe this scene at all. The only way to understand the story is to read both the images and the text together.

    And that’s the way the entire series works. You could read the prose aloud to a blind person, and there would be plenty of jokes and character beats they’d miss completely. Just because there are no panels or less directly sequential images like the one I describe above, the pictures overall carry a hefty chunk of the narrative.

    Am I the only person in comics who’s actually read any of these books?

  2. I’ve read ’em too. They are hybrids, no question, but as I always say: don’t distance yourself from success.

  3. I don’t think of them as comics, but my guess is that it does the comics’ form some good to be identified as the form of the biggest kids’ seller in the last few years.

  4. I find it a little sad, actually, that comicdom is so desperate to justify itself by clinging to an illustrated novel where “on page 125 there are two images which work in sequence (complete with word balloons)”.

    There are plenty of successes with real comics to cling yourself to.

    There is no need to behave like that loser kid who’s allowed to tag along with the cool kids. You ARE the cool kid!

  5. The definition of “comics” I use is one where images are /essential/ to the understanding of the story. By that standard, Wimpy Kid doesn’t quite cut it – a couple of scenes rely on the illustrations, but if you cut them all out it would still be a perfectly understandable journal story.

    . . . that said, the Wimpy Kid books /are/ pretty hilarious, and if their success leads to major publishers pursuing more Definitely Comics projects I’m all for it!

  6. Replying again against my better instincts…

    Angelica, I agree with you in a general sense, but to me, the comics material in the Wimpy books is pretty essential to what makes them work as well as they do. Sure, there’s a basic plot that can be drawn from the text, but the core conceit of the entire series – that Greg presents himself as a tried and true pal to others while he’s in fact quite self-absorbed and jerkish – doesn’t come across without the comics to go along with the text. There’s a general understanding of things that can happen without the comics, but the real story only exists when the words and pictures play off each other. Combine that with the fact that Kinney considers himself a cartoonist, launched the whole project as a web comic and sold the series to a comics publisher at a comic convention, and I think the books cross the line well enough to be looked at as comics as much as they are chapter books.

    Mario, I was going to write a whole response about how that was just one page I turned two after about 12 seconds of looking and blah blah blah, but it’s not worth it. I’m sure it’s no secret to you that some folks on the internet are happier with name-calling and broad, unsupported claims instead of honest, focused discussion, but maybe it never occurred to you that you were one of them?