Jeff Kinney is an American cartoonist and author from Fort Washington in Maryland. He is best known for his children’s book series, Diary Of A Wimpy Kid.
Kinney’s first artistic success came when he began a comic strip in a student newspaper while studying at the University of Maryland.
The comic strip was very popular.
Five years after graduating from university, Kinney had the idea for Gregg Heffley, the main character of the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid series.
He worked on the story for a total of 8 years before showing it to a publisher, including releasing an online version in 2004.
As soon as the book was published in 2007 it became a big hit. There are now 17 books in the series and a spin-off series based on Rowley, Gregg’s best friend.
Three years after the first book was published, a film adaptation was released. This was followed by three more live action films and a fifth animated feature.
Multiple books are combined to make each film. The book series has sold over 275 million copies worldwide and has been translated into 69 different languages.
About The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Book Series
This book series was created to look and sound like the diary of the main character, Greg Heffley.
Greg is a middle school student who writes in a daily journal and also does illustrations to accompany his entries.
Greg goes through the type of struggles that lots of kids will relate to – he wants to be more popular in school, he falls out with his siblings, he tries to impress girls on summer vacation, and he finds himself getting caught up in trouble.
As the books progress, some themes become more mature – Greg goes through puberty, he gets a girlfriend, loses loved ones, and has to deal with family issues.
These books are about growing up, and they provide a funny yet useful outlook on life that many readers will find supportive.
They are intended audience for the books is children aged 8 to 12, but the series is actually enjoyed by many children and teenagers that fall outside of that age bracket, too.
The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Book Series In Order
This is the correct order to read the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid book series in.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid
Greg is trying to muddle his way through middle school, but he is finding it quite stressful!
He has homework deadlines that he can’t miss, a big test to study for, and a study partner who isn’t pulling their weight.
He keeps his diary up to date with all of his day-to-day activities and challenges, recounting it all in a funny narrative with illustrations.
- This is a comedic and enjoyable start to the book series
- Some of the supporting characters are not very well-developed
Greg has an embarrassing secret that he wants to keep quiet.
If anyone at school found out, it would make him even less popular. But Greg’s older brother, Rodrick, knows. Will the secret stay hidden?
- This books builds up some tension and suspense
- Rodrick’s character is a bit two-dimensional
The Last Straw
Greg’s Dad signs him up to take part in sports and other activities in an attempt to make Greg less wimpy.
Greg needs to impress his Dad to prove that he doesn’t need to go to military school to ‘toughen up’, but he finds himself getting a bit distracted by trying to impress girls instead.
Or perhaps, one girl in particular.
- This is a great insight into growing up
- This book perpetuates gender stereotypes in some ways
Greg is looking forward to spending his summer vacation indoors playing video games.
Greg’s mother has other ideas – she wants a summer filled with outdoor family activities.
They aren’t able to see eye to eye, but will the latest addition to the family change Gregg’s mind? Perhaps a dog is just what Greg needs.
- This is educational as well as enjoyable
- The plot is quite predictable
The Ugly Truth
Greg has always been keen to grow up, but now that it’s actually happening it’s not what he has expected.
He is facing a lot of challenges – he has more responsibility, he has to learn how to hang out with girls, and he is going through changes which are hard to deal with.
It would all be a lot easier if his best friend was there to support him.
- This book helps children and teens who are going through puberty
- There isn’t a lot about the female experience in this book
Gregg finds himself caught in a difficult situation and accidentally damages school property. What will happen when he gets found out?
And how can he prove that he is innocent? His troubles are put on hold when a blizzard traps the family indoors.
But being stuck inside with his family might be worse than facing whatever punishment awaits him when the snow melts.
- This book has some important messages about responsibility and honesty
- Greg’s family aren’t painted in the best light in this book
The Third Wheel
Greg is determined to find a date for the school dance.
Things don’t quite go to plan, and he ends up agreeing to attend the dance as a group along with his best friend and a female classmate.
But tensions rise between the boys as they try to avoid being the third wheel.
- This is a relatable plot line for young readers
- More could have been done to explore the idea of being attracted to your peers
After falling out with his best friend, Greg is on the hunt for a new one. But making friends in middle school is hard work!
Will Greg have better luck when he decides to leave his decisions to chance? Or will the dice be against him?
- This book is witty and enjoyable
- Fans will be frustrated that Greg and his best friend aren’t getting on
The Long Haul
A Heffley family road trip was never going to go smoothly, no matter how well-prepared they thought they were.
Greg updates his diary with every mishap of the adventure, including a fender bender, a runaway pig, crazy seagulls and a tricky situation in a gas station bathroom.
This is one road trip that the Heffley family certainly won’t forget.
- This book is full of funny calamities
- Some of the plot lines are quite far-fetched
When the whole town decides to go electronic free, Greg finds it hard to adjust.
He misses the conveniences of modern life, especially as he faces tense situations both at home and at school.
Were things really better in the old days, or is Greg not suited to the simple life?
- This book highlights how reliant we all are on technology
- The plot is not as exciting as some of the other books in the series
When Greg’s mother thinks he is spending too much time playing video games, she forces him to explore his creative side instead.
Greg isn’t thrilled about the idea, but inspiration strikes when he comes across a packet of Halloween gummy worms.
Greg decides to make a movie to impress his mother, but things don’t quite go to plan.
- It is great to see Greg pursuing a creative interest
- Greg’s mother is painted as the villain which isn’t realistic
The Heffley’s escape the cold weather with a tropical island holiday, but it seems their vacation is doomed from the start. Paradise isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
- The change of location is exciting
- The storyline isn’t relatable for children whose families can’t afford to go on holiday
A snowstorm turns Gregg’s town into a battlefield of snowball fights and territory wars.
Greg will need the help of his best friend to get them through. But who will join them? And will they be victorious against their rivals?
- The snowy setting is fun and different
- The plot line is quite limited
The Heffley family are spending an unexpected inheritance on home improvements.
But construction is complicated and it puts the family under a lot of pressure. Will Gregg be forced to leave his home?
- This book highlights the importance of a family home
- Not all readers will find this story relatable
The Deep End
When a cross-country camping trip goes wrong, the Heffleys find themselves stranded in an RV park.
- This is a funny and entertaining story
- Some of the supporting characters are quite stereotypical
Greg has a series of bad luck in sports and is prepared to give up completely.
His mother convinces him to try out for basketball and unexpectedly ends up on the team. But will he be able to handle the pressure of a big game?
- This is an uplifting story about working as a team
- Kids who don’t play sports might not enjoy this book as much
When Gregg tags along with his brother’s band, he realizes that the Rock and Roll lifestyle isn’t what he had imagined.
- This is an exciting story and a great way to end the series
- Younger children might find this book un-relatable
It is best to read the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid book series in chronological order, as each story follows on from the last one.
The storylines tend to be wrapped up in each book, so you could read them at random if you wanted to, but they flow better when read in the correct order.
This also gives you a better understanding of the characters, and of how Gregg is growing and maturing throughout the books.
The chronological order of the book series is also the same as the publication order.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid book series by Jeff Kinney.
Are The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Books Based On True Stories?
Jeff Kinney drew a lot of inspiration from his own childhood when writing the book series. The stories aren’t all factual, but some of them are inspired by real events.
How Many Books From The Series Have Been Made Into Movies?
Scenes from the first 7 books in the series have been used to create 4 live action movies. There is also a fifth movie which is an animated feature.
Do You Have To Read The Diary Of A Wimpy Kid Book Series In Order?
It is best to read the book series in chronological order, as the story will flow better. You can read them as individual stories if you want to, but you won’t get the best reading experience.
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