Review Blog

Oct 20 2016

Timmy Failure: The book you're not supposed to have by Stephan Pastis

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406369762
(Age: 8+) Humour. Detectives. This is the kind of book written for kids who like silly humour, impossible logic and exceptionally odd and quirky characters who like to solve problems (even if the problems don't really exist). Timmy Failure is a legend in his own mind, and he considers himself to be the world's best young private detective, however his definition of genius and his tendency to see the world from a very warped perspective seem to get him into trouble. With the looming wedding of his mother to Doorman Dave (a man Timmy loathes), and with the punishment of NO detective work until school is over, Timmy takes unusual routes to hide his devious detective agency from her attention, and to avoid participation in the wedding. Failure is intensely awful at detective work, but he does not realise this. He also ropes in classmates with equally dreadful deductive reasoning and manages to just create mayhem wherever he goes.
Pastis has created a series that kids will like, but this is certainly not great literature. With a crazy plot, scattered comedic caricatures throughout the book and silly chapter headings, there are plenty of places to tickle the funny bone of readers aged 8+. But don't expect that they will grow in their maturity and empathy by reading this book... it is more likely that they will giggle at inappropriate moments!
Carolyn Hull

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