Kids Jeff Kinney on his latest Wimpy Kid book
Author Je Kinney’s 13th book in the Wimpy Kid series, a winter adventure called e Meltdown, was recently published simultaneously in 25 countries around the world. In e Melt down, Wimpy Kid Greg He ey’s school is shut down by snow, but rather than do what he’d dearly love to do and stay warm indoors, Greg is forced outside to play, where the neighbourhood’s rival gangs of kids are about to engage in not just a snow ght, but a snow war! Je tells us about his latest half-comic strip, half kids’ novel.
What is The Meltdown about?
This is my “war” book. It’s about the con ict that arises in a neighbourhood when things become stressful due to snow. It’s a mix of the Lord of the Flies, Game of Thrones and The Hobbit.
With each book in the series, is it becoming more di cult to nd new adventures for Greg He ey? It gets harder and harder, because you don’t want to catch yourself paddling in the same waters. But it’s a challenge I enjoy and embrace.
You’ve said in the past that 320 is exactly the best number of illustrations per book – have you stuck to this rule in The Meltdown?
Yes! Although there’s one big two-page spread in this book, so I suppose that counts for four or ve drawings. Do you think it’s likely Greg He ey might ever grow up? No. He’s a cartoon character, and the best cartoon characters never change.
You grew up in Washington DC – were there many snow days like the ones in The Meltdown? There were! And our neighbourhood became a wintry battle eld, just like Greg’s.
Time magazine named you one of the most in uential people in the world, for how much the Wimpy Kid books encourage kids to read – how does that make you feel?
It feels humbling and exciting. It’s a privilege to be able to write for so many kids, all over the world.
The Wimpy Kid universe is now so big and so global, but are you still as excited about the publication of each new one? I really am. Today, I spent the day on one of the highest peaks in Germany, having a snowball ght with kids. The opportunities that come about from a new publication are wonderful.
…and the tours, talks and big audiences that you meet around the world?
Yes. It’s exciting to think that I write my stories in Plainville, Massachusetts, but that my stories reach so many kids.
How has the year been at your bookshop in Plainville?
It’s been an incredible year. Each week we have two or three world-famous authors in the store. It’s actually overwhelming at times! This year we had David Walliams, Dav Pilkey, Victoria Jamieson, Kate DiCamillo, and many others.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown is published by Puffin, priced €12.99