Jeff Kinney
author of THE LONG HAUL
A family road trip is supposed to be a lot of fun…unless, of course, you’re the Heffleys of Jeff Kinney’s famous Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of books. The journey starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns. Gas station bathrooms, crazed seagulls, a fender bender, and a runaway pig—not exactly Greg Heffley’s idea of a good time. But even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure—and this is one the Heffleys won’t soon forget. We talk to Kinney on Kirkus TV this week about the wild success of the Wimpy Kid books and his latest in the series, The Long Haul.


KIRKUS REVIEW

You’d think that if anyone would know better, it would be Greg Heffley’s mother.

But no. When she reads an article in Family Frolic magazine about wholesome family road trips, she insists on taking one right now. What ensues is the kind of totally over-the-top mayhem that the Wimpy Kid’s fans have come to expect—and more. The family packs too much stuff to fit into the car, so they decide to tow Dad’s utterly unseaworthy boat as extra cargo space. Mom insists on educational enrichment (learn-to-speak-Spanish CDs, lame-o car games), “real food” (brown-bag “Mommy Meals” instead of fast food) and “authentic” fun (a country fair with no rides but a guess-the-pig’s-weight contest in which the prize is the pig; baby Manny wins). They spend the night in the absolute quintessence of a cruddy motel. Two slapstick driving sequences are both Hollywood-ready and extremely funny, especially in Kinney’s accompanying cartoons; Greg’s free-associative riff on humorless do-gooders who seek to censor such potty-humor classics as a wink-and-a-nod–disguised Captain Underpants will find an appreciative audience. By taking the Heffleys on the road, Kinney both gives himself an almost universally familiar experience to lampoon and places Greg in the rather unusual position of being almost entirely justified in his misanthropy, which is downright refreshing.

Every kid—and every parent—who’s ever suffered through a family road trip will feel as one with Greg. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)


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