Timmy Failure – Mistakes Were Made

By Stephan Pastis (Walker Books)

The success of Diary of a Wimpy Kid has inspired a flood of books about happy underachievers illustrated with naïve stick drawings. Enter Timmy Failure. He’s a hapless loner with an improbable surname: Failure.  Timmy wants to be a detective and his sidekick is a polar bear called Total. Together their company is Total Failure Inc. They take on cases of extreme importance, such as who ate his friend Gunnar’s candy. They bumble through their cases, often completely missing the real clues, which young readers will enjoy pointing out.

Timmy is great for kids who feel like they don’t fit into the stereotypical ‘good school kid’ model.  He’s not good at school work, his single mom battles to keep him in line, he finds it hard to concentrate in class and he frequently does and says silly things. My six-year-old nephew loved the story although some of the offbeat humour and vocabulary went over his head. He enjoyed it a lot more than I did, to be honest.  I find the character a bit too adult and intentionally dumb. The American author, Stephen Pastis, is the celebrated creator of the satirical cartoon strip Pearls before Swine. Timmy Failure is similarly un-PC, with Tim calling his friend an idiot and his teacher calling him Captain Thickhead.  As you can see, kids will love it.

Timmy Failure is star of two more books: Timmy Failure – Now Look What You’ve Done and Timmy Failure – We Meet Again.

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