Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done

Spring 2014 Fiction
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Stephan Pastis
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763660512
Hardcover Price: $14.99

This is the second book in a series that revolves around 11-year-old Timmy Failure, head of the most impressive detective agency in town. It's packed with humor, charm and delightful illustrations. Timmy is an appealing but disgruntled pre-adolescent who escapes the typical middle school woes by creating his own Mitty-esque world. He and his bumbling sidekick (a polar bear named Total) form Total Failure, Inc., a global agency that meets in odd corners of his quirky aunt's dilapidated mansion to plot and work through their sticky adventures. In this case, there's a school-wide mystery contest to be won that comes with a $500 prize.

If at times insufferably self-confident, Timmy is also empathetic and likeable. A subtle pathos lingers in the background, which gives his story substance. He and his recently unemployed mother live a precarious life, but Timmy's impressive imagination propels them beyond it.

Author Stephen Pastis is a cartoonist and his whimsical drawings are a great complement to the book. The humor is age-appropriate but not gratuitous. Timmy's refusal to entertain reality results in scenes that may make both adult and young readers laugh out loud. He's a perfect anti-hero, and this is a great read for the recommended age group.

Teresa DiFalco   ©2014 Parents' Choice
Teresa DiFalco is an award-winning ghostwriter, writer, and mother in Vancouver, Washington. She's been a contributing editor for Parents' Choice for over ten years. She's a strong speller, a menace at badminton, and makes a decent soufflé.

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