Is there a kid in your life who is a fan of The Wimpy Kid books? Or the '”Pearls Before Swine” comic strip? Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by local cartoonist and author, Stephan Pastis, might be the perfect book.
Timmy Failure (formerly from the French, Fayleure, which does not mean failure in French) is the founder, President and CEO of his own detective agency,Total Failure, Inc. His business partner is a very hungry, 1500 pound polar bear named Total. He gets a call from Gunnar, neighbor and classmate, now missing his Halloween candy. Timmy and Total hop on the Failuremobile (his mom’s Segway) and head to Gunnar’s house. The interview reveals that the candy was in an orange, plastic pumpkin on his nightstand. Now it is gone. Timmy quotes his fees and expenses to Gunnar and on the way out he walks past Gunnar’s brother, Gabe’s room. Gabe is sitting on his bed surrounded by candy wrappers with an empty plastic pumpkin and chocolate smeared on his face. Timmy, ever looking for clues, writes in his notebook: “Gabe not tidy”.
The adult portion of the review: Timmy seldom interacts with reality. The script in his head is so much more exciting and less threatening. He isn’t doing well in school, his mother’s hours have been cut and they have to move from their house to an apartment. Things are even so bad that Total has to go live in the zoo. Who wants to deal with all that? In Timmy’s mind, he is just one case away from freeing his mother from worrying about money forever.
Back to the fun part of the book: some of Timmy’s scheme’s involve his classmates, Rollo Tookus (aka Stanfurd because he wants to go to a good college) and Molly Moskins (aka Tangerine Girl because every time Timmy is near her he gets a whiff of tangerine). His nemesis and rival is the “ One Whose Name Shall Not Be Uttered”. Her detective agency, CCIA is located in a fancy building downtown with pillars, marble floors and a large safe. However, that does not make her a good detective!
Stephan Pastis has interesting adult characters who lookout for Timmy. My favorite is the biker librarian, Flo, who reads Emily Dickenson and helps Timmy with his “research”. According to Timmy, they are professional colleagues. The yard lady, Dondi Sweetwater, gives Timmy Rice Krispies Treats for Total. And New Guy, the substitute teacher who takes over the class when Timmy drives Old Man Crocus on a sabbatical. New Guy has a clever way of getting Timmy to do his school work, he hires him to do research!
I am looking forward to the further adventures of Timmy Failure. I laughed out loud many times while reading this book. As a further incentive, right on the cover is an enthusiastic endorsement from Jeff Kinney. My eight year old grandson just finished the book. He gives it a big thumbs up.
The Sonoma County Library has several copies. If you live in Sonoma County, Copperfield’s has signed copies in stock.
The AR level is 3.8.