Greg Heffley’s story continues in Big Shot, the newly released 16th Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. Author Jeff Kinney chatted about his new book with ABC Audio and teased the “misadventures” he has in store for the young protagonist.
In Big Shot, Greg’s mom persuades him to sign up for basketball, but as Kinney warns, “He’s not a very sporty kid.” The middle schooler does make a team, but it’s the “worst” one, so his chances of winning a single game are very slim.
The best-selling author said the message he wants children to take away from Big Shot is that not everyone is destined to become a professional athlete — and that’s okay. “Youth sports really is full of these funny degradations that we don’t really talk about,” he explained. “We’re always trying to build our kids’ self-esteem up and we don’t want them to feel like they failed.”
“I want to really hit that head on and give kids who aren’t star athletes a language to express themselves and… describe what they’re going through,” Kinney said of his book.
Now that Greg has starred in 16 books, it does beg to question how much he has changed since the world was first introduced to the 11-year-old in 2007.
“In some ways, he hasn’t really changed,” Kinney remarked. “I think we really rely on our cartoon characters to stay the same.”
He said an example is Donald Duck, who’ll never outgrow his temper that makes him “fly off the handle” because the audience likes that about him.
Because of that, Kinney explained, “Sometimes Greg learns a lesson, but it’s usually subverted.”
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