Reviews for Timmy Failure : Mistakes Were Made


Booklist Reviews 2012 December #1
Eleven-year-old Timmy Failure would have you believe that he is the best detective in town, destined to head a multibillion-dollar agency. But he is no Encyclopedia Brown. The fact that his partner is an imaginary 1,200-pound polar bear named Total--hence the agency's moniker "Total Failure"--is an indication of Timmy's rich inner life. In reality, Timmy is bored at school by teachers who don't get him and is in a whole heap of trouble for using his mother's Segway, which was then stolen. Cartoonist Pastis' book is in the same vein as Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), but his brand of humor is less slapstick and much darker. Timmy's delusional self-confidence seems almost pathetic at times, as the reader realizes that he is very socially inept. Fortunately for Timmy, there are some adults in his life who really do care for him, and with the right balance of indulgence and firmness, they keep him on track. Younger readers attracted by the cartoons might not connect with Timmy's offbeat humor, but older readers should be simultaneously amused and touched by this quirky antihero. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This may be Pastis' first book for young people, but he is a New York Times best-selling adult author. Impressive promotional plans include an author tour, promotional items, and extensive consumer advertising. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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Booklist Reviews 2013 December #2
Eleven-year-old Timmy Failure would have you believe that he is the best detective in town, destined to head a multibillion-dollar agency. But he is no Encyclopedia Brown. The fact that his partner is an imaginary 1,200-pound polar bear named Total--hence the agency's moniker "Total Failure"--is an indication of Timmy's rich inner life. In reality, Timmy is bored at school by teachers who don't get him and is in a whole heap of trouble for using his mother's Segway, which was then stolen. Cartoonist Pastis' book is in the same vein as Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), but his brand of humor is less slapstick and much darker. Timmy's delusional self-confidence seems almost pathetic at times, as the reader realizes that he is very socially inept. Fortunately for Timmy, there are some adults in his life who really do care for him, and with the right balance of indulgence and firmness, they keep him on track. Younger readers attracted by the cartoons might not connect with Timmy's offbeat humor, but older readers should be simultaneously amused and touched by this quirky antihero. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This may be Pastis' first book for young people, but he is a New York Times best-selling adult author. Impressive promotional plans include an author tour, promotional items, and extensive consumer advertising. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Fall
Timmy Failure and his sidekick, Total, a 1500-pound polar bear, run a detective agency true to its name: Total Failure, Inc. The interplay of the slapstick text with the pen-and-ink illustrations is sardonic--hilariously so--and Timmy is an unreliable narrator done right. Adult cartoonist Pastis's humor may resonate more with grownups, but it offers plenty for younger readers as well.

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Kirkus Reviews 2013 January #1
The great children's-book characters can get on your nerves. Eloise is a little spoiled. The Cat in the Hat refuses to listen to anyone else. Timmy Failure would be easy to actually hate. When he's taking a group test, he brings down everyone's score by drawing dot-to-dot pictures with the Scantron bubbles. When his teacher isn't looking, Timmy goes to the world map and draws the future offices of his detective agency, with a branch on every major continent. Timmy has already started solving crimes. His business is aptly called Total Failure, Inc. His neighbor Gunnar hires him to find some missing candy. Gunnar's brother is sitting in bed, with chocolate stains on his face. Candy wrappers are strewn all around. Timmy is stumped, though, because the brother has an alibi: He was eating candy. Timmy is a classic comic type: the person who's arrogant for no good reason. But Pastis keeps him from becoming unbearable by turning him into Walter Mitty. He's a lonely boy whose mother is dating a bowler, and he dreams of being the world's greatest detective. Who wouldn't? The Pearls Before Swine cartoonist's frequent black-and-white illustrations help to cast Timmy's adventure in an appropriately ironic light. Timmy may not be one of the great children's-book characters, but he has greatness in him. Just like all of us. (Comic mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Media Connection Reviews 2013 August/September
Timmy Failure is the founder of the best detective agency in town. Total, a 1,500 pound polar bear, is Timmy's lazy, comical sidekick. Young readers may be enticed to pick up this cliché-ridden book of tiresome humor better understood by adults, but the somewhat comical artwork isn't enough to elicit continued interest. What a disappointment. Ann Bryan Nelson, Volunteer Media Specialist and Guest Teacher, Thompson Ranch Elementary School, Dysart Unified School District, Surprise, Arizona [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format.] NOT RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 December #1

Mysteries abound in the first children's book from Pastis, creator of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine. Who stole the Halloween candy of Timmy's classmate Gabe? Who is the mysterious girl Timmy refuses to discuss? Why is no one fazed that Timmy has a pet polar bear named Total? Fortunately, Timmy is an aspiring detective, who believes his agency, Total Failure Inc. ("We won't fail, despite what the name says"), is "on the verge of being a Fortune 500 company." Unfortunately, Timmy is a terrible sleuth, who doesn't leap to the wrong conclusions so much as cannonball into a swimming pool full of them. His narration reveals an impressive command of business-speak (he doesn't talk with his single mother--he teleconferences), while the wide-eyed characters resemble a cross between the work of George Booth and Sara Varon. Pastis has assembled an eccentric and funny cast (running gags revolve around Total's voracious appetite and a librarian who looks like one of the Hells Angels), yet there are also touching interactions to be found, particularly between Timmy and his mother. Ages 8-12. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Feb.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 May

Gr 3-8--Timmy Failure's new surname is completely apt. His original family name was "Fayleure," he explains, "but somebody changed it." And that bit of shallow self-assessment is just about the only accurate thing Timmy relates about himself for the rest of this highly illustrated comic novel as he unreliably narrates a boastful "historical record" of his adventures as the self-described founder, president, and CEO of the best detective agency in town, probably the state, perhaps the nation, Total Failure, Inc. Total is actually the name of Timmy's partner, a 1500-pound polar bear whose main talent seems to be eating trash. He's also "assisted," at times, by a sheepish and studious sidekick, Rollo Tookus, who often picks up on clues that soar completely past Timmy's selective attention as he, instead, focuses on demeaning Rollo for his supposed incompetence at every turn. And, of course, every master Investigator needs an evil nemesis, and Timmy's is Corrina Corrina, who looks like she might have been collaboratively created by Charles Schulz and Edward Gorey. While the book is not quite a graphic novel, Pastis, creator of the syndicated comic strip Pearls Before Swine, peppers nearly every page of this comic romp with at least one intentionally amateurish black-and-white illustration, enhancing the laughs along the way as Timmy misses even the most obvious clues in Clouseauesque fashion. Middle grade readers will appreciate all the silly sleuthing and absurd details, and older readers-including parents who come along for the ride-will find a satisfying layer of more sophisticated humor, too.--Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI

[Page 122]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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