All his life, Jeff Kinney wanted to be a cartoonist. As a student at the University of Maryland in the 1990s, he published his comic strip "Igdoof" in the college newspaper, but he soon discovered that succeeding in the real world as a syndicated cartoonist is no easy task. So, after school, he supported himself as a newspaper designer and computer programmer, while working out ideas for a children's book that combined cartoons with conventional storytelling. Once he conceived the concept for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Kinney devoted nearly six years to developing the storyline and artwork. Fashioned as a journal with appealing, expressive stick figure drawings on every page, Diary is narrated in the pitch-perfect (and hilariously deadpan) voice of a not-always-likeable but totally believable tweener named Greg Haffley. Poised to make the painful transition from elementary to middle school, Gregg struggles with the usual preteen angst: bullies and cliques, annoying siblings and clueless parents, faithful friends and cute, unattainable girls. Although Kinney never intended to publish his book online, when the opportunity arose to serialize Greg's adventures on Funbrain.com, he knew he'd found the perfect way to reach his target audience. In 2004, the comic strip began appearing in daily installments on the website. The feature was a huge hit, attracting thousands of hits a day. Moreover, the online version paved the way to Kinney's five-book deal with the publisher Harry N. Abrams. Armed with fresh, new story lines, Kinney launched the print sequence in 2007. From the very first installment, entitled simply Diary of a Wimpy Kid, the series was a success -- especially with reluctant readers who found the diary-with-doodles format far more accessible than conventional books. Gregg, with his hilarious antics, backfiring schemes, and totally unfiltered thoughts (his mom has agreed not to read what he writes!), has struck a responsive chord -- both with kids who identify with his growing pains and with grownups who vividly recall their own.
Greg’s bond with his family members is stereotypically American. The extent of his relationship with his Father is to laugh at a bad cartoon in the morning newspaper. His Mum tries to encourage him to go outside during his summer vacations. His rock-band bully brother is notable by his absence.
The highly anticipated third book in the critically acclaimed and bestselling series takes the art of being wimpy to a whole new level. Let’s face it: Greg Heffley will never change his wimpy ways. Somebody just needs to explain that to Greg’s father. You see, Frank Heffley actually thinks he can get his son to toughen up, and he enlists Greg in organized sports and other “manly” endeavors.
It’s summer vacation, the weather’s great, and all the kids are having fun outside. So where’s Greg Heffley? Inside his house, playing video games with the shades drawn. Greg, a self-confessed “indoor person,” is living out his ultimate summer fantasy: no responsibilities and no rules. But Greg’s mom has a different vision for an ideal summer . . . one packed with outdoor activities and “family togetherness.” Whose vision will win out? Or will a new addition to the Heffley family change everything?
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