The New York Times looks at Jeff Kinney’s “Wimpy Kid” blockbuster status:
The franchise has been a sleeper hit for Amulet Books, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, and for the author, Jeff Kinney, who started it as a series of online cartoons on the Web site FunBrain.com. The first book, published in 2007 and billed as a “novel in cartoons,” has spent 89 weeks on The New York Times’s children’s best-seller list and has been translated into 28 languages. According to the publisher, there are 10 million copies in print of the first two books and a third title, a do-it-yourself version that lets children write their own story. A “Wimpy Kid” movie is being cast. The latest book, “The Last Straw,” is being introduced Jan. 13 with a printing of a million copies.
Published on lined paper in the form of journal entries, the books tell in pitch-perfect voice of Greg’s hilarious and mortifying adventures at home and school. Greg, who is finely attuned to social pecking orders, writes that he is “around 52nd or 53rd most popular this year.” He is also lazy and manipulative, always choosing to do what is expedient rather than what is right — qualities that place him somewhere on the continuum between Dennis the Menace and Bart Simpson, and make him so appealing to readers 8 to 12 years old, especially boys.