Sunday, January 26, 2014

Timmy Failure mistakes were made by Stephan Pastis

"My family name was once Fayleure. But somebody changed it.  Now it is spelled as you see.  I'd ask that you get your 'failure' jokes out of the way now.  I am anything but."

This little quote from the first page should help you hear the 'tone' of this funny book which has the following chapter headings :

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah
The Candy man can't cos he's missing all his chocolate -(I wonder if you can hear the Candy man song here)
The Timmy empire strikes back
The answer, my friend, is blowing on my ear
Happiness is not a dumb blanket
Dial M for Magellan
I get no kick from kickball
No teacher left behind  (This refers to the US campaign No child left behind.)
For whom the Timmyline tolls
Elementary my dear Gunnar

As you can see this book is filled with references to music and popular culture though oddly, for me, it was not a book that made me laugh out loud. I did smile at times but mostly I found Timmy to be a fairly annoying and self absorbed little boy.  That said this is a fun book to read and it will be featured on the NSW School Magazine bookshelf this year.

Following the style of Detective Donut and the wild goose chase, Inspector Gadget and Victor's Quest, Timmy is a bumbling detective who works with a special sidekick but this is where Mistakes were made moves away from the predicable.  His sidekick is a Polar Bear and he is not the voice of wisdom - he much prefers Rice Krispie treats and raiding garbage bins along with his passion for seals.  Timmy knows one day he will be a famous detective but for now he is on the trail of a candy thief and worse, he needs to find out who stole his mothers Segway which Timmy has named his Failuremobile.  This is particularly urgent because his mother does not know Timmy has been using the segway.  In fact she has expressly forbidden this.  I did enjoy the way Timmy schedules regular teleconferences with is mother.

For fans of Diary of a Wimpy kid and Tom Gates and especially boys will enjoy Timmy Failure mistakes were made with its short chapters, perfect little cartoon style drawings and cast of crazy characters.  Timmy has a web site which contains story extracts and activities and you will see there is a sequel. The Kirkus review below is well worth reading too.

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