75° Good Afternoon
75° Good Afternoon

'Wimpy Kid' author entertains Long Island kids

John Ehrmann, 9, of Mineola, takes a guess

John Ehrmann, 9, of Mineola, takes a guess at a pig's weight at a book signing event with author Jeff Kinney at Barnes & Noble in Carle Place on Nov. 2, 2014. Credit: Beth Whitehouse

At the nationwide launch of author Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” at the Carle Place Barnes & Noble on Monday night, John Pyne, 10, of Holtsville, insulted a pig.
Kinney had set up half a dozen stations at the event to entertain the more than 600 fans waiting on line for him to sign the ninth book in his mega-hit series. One of them was a “Guess the Weight of the Hog” contest, complete with a judge in a top hat and a fake pink porker.
“How did you do in the hog-judging contest?” Kinney asked John when he approached the author to have “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul” autographed.
“Terrible,” John said. The guess he submitted to the judge? 105 pounds. “He said I hurt the pig’s feelings.”
John didn’t do too well in the “Foulest Footwear Competition” either: That judge advised him to come back next year when his shoes were more worn. All the stations at the signing related to the new book, about main character Greg Heffley’s ill-fated family road trip, which included a stop at a country fair.
Kinney arrived at the signing in an orange tour bus with fake windows painted on the side featuring Wimpy Kid Greg Heffley and his family – mom, dad, older brother Rodrick and toddler Manny. It was the first stop on his three-week book tour.
“I’m excited to be here,” Kinney said. The best-selling author, who books have been made into three movies, has a soft spot for Long Island. In 2009 Kinney launched the third book – “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw” – on Long Island and was stunned when hundreds of kids showed up at that signing.  “This is where Wimpy Kid really changed, where it became a much bigger deal that it had been before,” he said.
Howard Schneiderman of New Hyde Park brought his daughters Mia, 9, ad Bella, 11, to Monday’s event, which he called phenomenal. “Nobody else does this,” he said of the stations along the line. “It gets them involved. Usually you stand in line for three hours just to get a signature.”
At the completion of their tour through the signing, kids were given a “Wimpy Kid” style personalized cartoon printout. Photos were also taken of them at each station, and upon arrival home they could download them from a website.
Cynthia Morabito of Stewart Manor brought her son, Nico, 8, to the signing along with other members of his third-grade class at Trinity Lutheran School in Hicksville. “He has been talking about the new book forever,” she said. “He had the date on our calendar and told me we had to come.”
John said he planned to read the new book as soon as he arrived home. “Good thing there’s no school tomorrow,” mom Bobbie Jo said. “He can stay up late.”

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