After Jeff Kinney was unsuccessful in syndicating his comic strip, lgdoof, he started writing down his ideas for about 6 years (from 1998-2004), which eventually became Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The series are believed to be loosely based on Jeff Kinney's childhood, and virtually all the characters are based off people in reality, who are replaced by fictional names to protect their identity. Before writing, the author stated that he had a rather complex childhood in middle school in which he was given numerous swirlies in the girls bathroom, and wanted to write about this.
Greg Heffley was made in 1998 as a middle school weakling, and Jeff Kinney started making stories about Greg in a cheap writing-pad from 1998-2004, and when a single joke was made, Jeff Kinney stuck it together with others. This resulted in a big 1,300+ pages book, which was cut to about 600 pages when Kinney uploaded it on funbrain.com in 2004. It then achieved over 25 million views, and soon after the success of the web book, he converted the series into published books.
Books in the series
In total, there are eight books in the series, each having a different color and a picture. From the original to the eighth book, Hard Luck, there have been many different books.
- Book 1: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, released in 2007, talks about Greg and his relationship with Rowley, and the infamous Cheese Touch. This book revolves arounds Greg's best friend, Rowley. (Red)
- Book 2: Rodrick Rules, released in 2008, is about Greg and his relationship with his brother, Rodrick, and about the traumatic event that Greg experienced during the summer. This book revolves aroung Greg's older brother, Rodrick. (Dark Blue)
- Book 3: The Last Straw, released in early 2009, is about Greg and his relationship with his father and how he tries to impress Holly Hills. This book revolves around Greg's father. (Green)
- Book 4: Dog Days, released in late 2009, is about Greg's worst summer ever. This book revolves around Greg's mother. (Yellow)
- Book 5: The Ugly Truth, released in 2010, is about Greg and Rowley going through puberty. This book revolves around Greg's great-grandmother. (Purple)
- Book 6: Cabin Fever, released in 2011, is about a snowstorm that keeps Greg and his family inside. This book revolves around Greg's little brother Manny. (Ice Blue)
- Book 7: The Third Wheel, released in 2012, is about Greg's relationship with girls and the valentines dance. This book revolves around Greg's Uncle Gary. (Brown)
- Book 8: Hard Luck, realeased in 2013, is about the Hard Luck Greg faces and the Magic 8-Ball. This book revolves around Rowley and Abigail. (Lime Green)
- Other Books: The other books in the series are the Do It Yourself Book (Orange,avaliable also in Red) and The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary (White)
The New York Times, which ranks children's book series collectively on a "Series Books" bestseller list, has included the Wimpy Kid series for 64 weeks as of April 10, 2010 . USA Today, which ranks best sellers based on sales alone regardless of genre or intended audience, has listed Diary of a Wimpy Kid in its top 150, peaking at number 8, for 141 weeks as of April 4, 2010. As of the same date, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules has been on the list for 117 weeks (peaking at number 4), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw has been on the list for 65 weeks (peaking at number 1), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days has been on the list for all 25 weeks of its publication (peaking at number 1), and The Wimpy Kid Movie Diary has been listed for all three weeks of its publication, peaking at number 2. As of May 2010, more than 32 million Wimpy Kid books are in print in the U.S., and the books have been sold in more than 30 countries in the world.
In March 2010, Fox Film 2000 released a movie named Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on the first book. The film garnered mixed reviews, and is rated 55% on Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2011, a second movie named Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules hit theaters. 47% of critcs gave the film a positive review, according to the aforementioned Rotten Tomatoes.
In 2012, a third movie named Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days was released. Unlike the first two films, Dog Days combined the third and fourth books (The Last Straw and Dog Days).
In 2014, (Warning, this is just a prediction.) Cabin Fever will release in a mixture of The Ugly Truth and Cabin Fever.
An animated short called Class Clown is included in the DVD special features of Dog Days.
An animated Christmas special based on Cabin Fever will be released near Christmas 2014. In December 2012, Jeff Kinney announced the next live-action film in the series will have different cast, possibly due to age.
2013 calendar: Released in 2012 includes bonus stickers from the book series and art by Jeff Kinney. Has 16 months.
2014 calendar: Released in 2013, includes bonus stickers from the book series and art by Jeff Kinney. Has 16 months.