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Timmy Failure Mistakes Were MadeTimmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis
Published by Candlewick Press
Pages: 304
Ages: 8-12
Buy It: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | ISBN: 9780763660505
Publishers Summary:

Take eleven-year-old Timmy Failure — the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile — Timmy’s mom’s Segway — and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore. Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into “Stanfurd” that he can’t carry out a no-brainer spy mission. From the offbeat creator of Pearls Before Swine comes an endearingly bumbling hero in a caper whose peerless hilarity is accompanied by a whodunit twist. With perfectly paced visual humor, Stephan Pastis gets you snorting with laughter, then slyly carries the joke a beat further — or sweetens it with an unexpected poignant moment — making this a comics-inspired story (the first in a new series) that truly stands apart from the pack.

Total Failure, Inc. isn’t a only a catchy name, but the combination of two friends in their endeavor to sleuth out the truth behind often silly investigations. When capers go wrong and the girl who must not be named aka The Beast gets in the way Timmy takes matters into his own hands. What ensues is a wild comic style book readers and fans of the Wimpy Kid series will likely enjoy.

Every so often a book comes along that simply doesn’t sit well with me. Within the first few chapters of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis I could tell this was going to be the case, but after reading positive review after positive review I couldn’t help but try to push through it. Sadly, after about one hundred pages of Timmy Failure and his sidekick Total, who also happens to be a polar bear, I could take no more. Normally I’d let this go and dismiss the book as “not the right fit” for me, but I after so many positive reviews I thought it might be a good thing to discuss a few negatives constructively.

Over the last few years comic style graphic novels like the Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries series have become increasingly popular. In fact, there’s a series titled Artsy-Fartsy in this same vein that I adore. I’m excited for this trend and happy to see so many more graphic style novels coming out for this age group, I only wish so many weren’t so demeaning to the characters within their pages. This was my main problem with Timmy Failure, the negativity. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that middle school is tough and that kids can be brutal but why promote that continued behavior through the books they read? Is it in hopes that the behavior will remain within the pages of the book and not transfer to real life? Because I’m not sure that’s a great plan. Do we not think that kids wouldn’t take the feelings, words and actions of a character they may in fact love and try to emulate them in their own lives? Where are the graphic novels with characters who don’t feel the need to put themselves or others down to make a book funny? Because to me that isn’t funny at all.

Within the pages of Timmy Failure is a pretty typical ten-or-so year old kid with dreams of owning his own global detective agency. Almost instantly readers encounter his negativity when he calls his best friend an “idiot”. He goes on a few pages later to show his own ineptitude by missing over and dismissing the solution to an investigation sitting right in front of him. Following this there are a number of situations where he insults teachers, his parents and fellow students, not to mention making himself and his so-called best friend look incompetent on a number of occasions. Instead of a funny book about a kid who makes a few mistakes along the way and ends up figuring things out eventually it turns out to be a read that I couldn’t help but want to put down, and that rarely happens to me. Obviously, I’m in a very small group with these feelings because as I mentioned earlier, Timmy Failure is getting rave reviews. Sadly though Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis just wasn’t for me.

The1stdaughter Recommends: I’m not sure I can really recommend this one, but for fans of the Wimpy Kid series may still want to give it a try.

Find Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis at the following spots:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Powell’s Books | Indiebound | Book Depository | ISBN: 9780763660505 | Goodreads

Don’t take my word for it. Here are a few other fantastic reviews of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made:

A Fuse #8 Production
Sturdy for Common Things
Lovey Dovey Books

Take a look at the book trailer for a sneak peek inside Timmy Failure:

Thank you so much to the publisher, Candlewick Press, for providing a copy of this book for review! Connect with them on Twitter, Google+ and on Facebook!
Purchasing products by clicking through the links in this post will provide us a modest commission through our various affiliate relationships.

4 Responses to Book Review: Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

  1. I love this trend. I think it especially inspires tweens to try drawing. Great review.

  2. Rhythm says:

    Great review! I really like the cover of this book. And I think that kids will be grabbing it up. Too bad it’s so negative. Kids get too much of that everywhere else these days.

  3. PragmaticMom says:

    I will suggest to moms of boys who would read only Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and have exhausted the series. I hear you on the negativity but it will appeal to boys who otherwise won’t read so I am ok with that tradeoff.

  4. Gina says:

    Wow…so that’s the half of it, hmm? I was curious about this one myself, you know me…not afraid of the kid lit world…and now, not so certain. Have to think about it for surem but now if I do endeavor a read of it, I’m more well informed of what’s inside. Thanks for sharing your reading adventure! Happier reading next go round….

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