If your tweens are looking for a funny new book series to start during the summer holidays, look no further - Timmy Failure is perfect ! I've just been reading Book 1 : Mistakes Were Made and Book 2 : Now Look What You've Done and I found them hilarious, despite being well out of the target audience age group ! I'll now be passing them on to Juliette, who will definitely love them, and I've no doubt Sophie will end up reading them too.
Timmy Failure is convinced he's the best detective in town ... in fact, quite probably the world ... and, along with his trusty sidekick Total, a polar bear (don't ask ! I'm not even sure if he's real or an imaginary friend !), he has launched the detective agency Total Failure Inc. This is the kind of gag that litters the pages, with the totally clueless yet hyper-confident Timmy totally missing the blindingly obvious.
He is no better at school, driving his teachers to distraction and remaining totally oblivious to his mum's stress as she tries her best to bring up her rather unruly son on her own. Timmy's classmates are equally eccentric - we meet the grade-obsessed Rollo, Molly Moskins who smells of tangerines and has a huge crush on Timmy, and - the fly in the ointment - Corrina Corrina who also has a detective agency (with better equipment and more intelligence to boot, although Timmy would rather eat his beloved scarf than admit that !)
Book 1 gives a lot of background information about the characters but you could easily drop straight into book 2 and still understand what was going on. In the second book, Timmy gets the chance to enter a detective competition at his school but, because he is as complacent and disorganised as ever, he totally misses the chance to prove his greatness ... or does he ?! I love the introduction in book 2 of Timmy's grandmother who is as quirky and hilarious as he is !
As you can see, the pages are almost all broken up with drawings so this would be a great series of books for reluctant or beginner readers. At the end of book 2, there is also a guide to drawing Timmy and Total with the chance to send in your artwork to be added to a gallery online.
The author, Stephan Pastis, is American so be warned, you will see a few Americanisms and American spellings - I had to explain a few "spelling mistakes" to Juliette ! It's in a similar vein to Diary of a Wimpy Kid and other "childhood antihero" type stories. The strange blurring of fantasy/reality can be a bit unsettling at times but Timmy is an endearing and unintentionally hilarious character that we all fell in love with !
The third book in the series, We Meet Again, is already available in hardback (the paperback release is in January) and the fourth, Sanitized For Your Protection, is available for pre-order before its hardback release in October.
star rating : 4.5/5
Mistakes Were Made :
Now Look What You've Done :
Disclosure : We received the books in order to write an honest review.