Mistakes Were Made
by Pastis, Stephan






Resolving to earn so much money that his mother will no longer stress out over the bills, 11-year-old Timmy Failure launches a detective business with a lazy polar bear partner named Total but finds their enterprise-Total Failure, Inc.-challenged by a college-bound spy and a four-foot-tall girl whom Timmy refuses to acknowledge.





Stephan Pastis is the creator of the New York Times bestseller Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made and its three sequels, as well as the acclaimed comic strip Pearls Before Swine. He lives in northern California.





Eleven-year-old Timmy Failure would have you believe that he is the best detective in town, destined to head a multibillion-dollar agency. But he is no Encyclopedia Brown. The fact that his partner is an imaginary 1,200-pound polar bear named Total-hence the agency's moniker "Total Failure"-is an indication of Timmy's rich inner life. In reality, Timmy is bored at school by teachers who don't get him and is in a whole heap of trouble for using his mother's Segway, which was then stolen. Cartoonist Pastis' book is in the same vein as Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), but his brand of humor is less slapstick and much darker. Timmy's delusional self-confidence seems almost pathetic at times, as the reader realizes that he is very socially inept. Fortunately for Timmy, there are some adults in his life who really do care for him, and with the right balance of indulgence and firmness, they keep him on track. Younger readers attracted by the cartoons might not connect with Timmy's offbeat humor, but older readers should be simultaneously amused and touched by this quirky antihero. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This may be Pastis' first book for young people, but he is a New York Times best-selling adult author. Impressive promotional plans include an author tour, promotional items, and extensive consumer advertising. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.





Eleven-year-old Timmy Failure would have you believe that he is the best detective in town, destined to head a multibillion-dollar agency. But he is no Encyclopedia Brown. The fact that his partner is an imaginary 1,200-pound polar bear named Total-hence the agency's moniker "Total Failure"-is an indication of Timmy's rich inner life. In reality, Timmy is bored at school by teachers who don't get him and is in a whole heap of trouble for using his mother's Segway, which was then stolen. Cartoonist Pastis' book is in the same vein as Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), but his brand of humor is less slapstick and much darker. Timmy's delusional self-confidence seems almost pathetic at times, as the reader realizes that he is very socially inept. Fortunately for Timmy, there are some adults in his life who really do care for him, and with the right balance of indulgence and firmness, they keep him on track. Younger readers attracted by the cartoons might not connect with Timmy's offbeat humor, but older readers should be simultaneously amused and touched by this quirky antihero. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This may be Pastis' first book for young people, but he is a New York Times best-selling adult author. Impressive promotional plans include an author tour, promotional items, and extensive consumer advertising. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.





It's all change, all the time for Timmy Failure. He has fired Total the polar bear from the detective agency, his mother's boyfriend is moving to Chicago, and Timmy is traveling cross-country with Molly Muskins, who may or may not be a criminal mastermind. The trip has interrupted Timmy's latest investigation involving stolen money from a class fund-raiser. But Timmy never has trouble finding dots to connect, and he and Molly go on the run in Chicago in order to solve the case. The observant reader will have already deduced that Timmy's motivation is more than crime fighting; he is avoiding a truth close to home. Timmy, while still taking refuge in the fantasy world of his polar bear and the detective agency, has noticeably grown over the series. In particular, his behavior toward overly affectionate Molly reveals an empathetic side of Timmy, as he observes how her father constantly belittles her. At times laugh-out-loud funny, then disarmingly sweet, Timmy's brand of failure continues to succeed with style. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: This new addition to Pastis' best-selling series will get an additional boost from a planned author tour. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.





In this third story about the world's greatest detective (who really isn't), Timmy Failure is allowed back to school on academic probation, and he and his mother (and polar bear Total) have moved again now that she has a new job. School continues to be a thorn in Timmy's side, as it gets in the way of his plans for global domination of the detective market. A make-or-break science project, which creates stress and unhealthy competition between his classmates, provides Timmy with the opportunity to establish his credentials once and for all-or crash and burn more than he has ever crashed and burned before. Pastis' supporting cast of characters are really beginning to emerge from the grip of Timmy's perspective, and in several cases, they have become effective narrative foils for him, rather than speechless bystanders to his quirkiness. While he is not yet ready for prime time, there are signs that, with the support of people who find him lovable in spite of himself, Timmy Failure will not live up to his name. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Timmy Failure is anything but a failure on the best-seller list. Select author appearances, a book trailer, a teacher's guide, and more should extend this kid's success streak. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.





Timmy Failure, would-be supersleuth and self-anointed smartest person in the world, is back (Timmy Failure, 2013), and he has learned absolutely nothing from his previous adventure. Timmy; his mother; and his "sidekick," the 1200 pound polar bear Total, have moved in with Great-Aunt Colander while his mom looks for a job. Great-Aunt Colander, widowed and trapped by the terms of her late husband's will, dreams of being an inventor. She is as successful an inventor as Timmy is a detective, and he initially has little patience for her. Yet Timmy generates staunch loyalty among those who know him best, and Great-Aunt Colander has a real affection for her clueless nephew, whose behavior and retreat into fantasy mask an anger he cannot articulate. Pastis (Pearls before Swine series) has a knack for comic timing, and the interplay between cartoon, text, and the absurdities of the story should continue to attract readers who wish they could shake their fists at the world with such inept panache. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Support is great for Pastis' second title about Timmy Failure and includes a major consumer advertising campaign and a 10-city author tour. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.





The great children's-book characters can get on your nerves. Eloise is a little spoiled. The Cat in the Hat refuses to listen to anyone else. Timmy Failure would be easy to actually hate. When he's taking a group test, he brings down everyone's score by drawing dot-to-dot pictures with the Scantron bubbles. When his teacher isn't looking, Timmy goes to the world map and draws the future offices of his detective agency, with a branch on every major continent. Timmy has already started solving crimes. His business is aptly called Total Failure, Inc. His neighbor Gunnar hires him to find some missing candy. Gunnar's brother is sitting in bed, with chocolate stains on his face. Candy wrappers are strewn all around. Timmy is stumped, though, because the brother has an alibi: He was eating candy. Timmy is a classic comic type: the person who's arrogant for no good reason. But Pastis keeps him from becoming unbearable by turning him into Walter Mitty. He's a lonely boy whose mother is dating a bowler, and he dreams of being the world's greatest detective. Who wouldn't? The Pearls Before Swine cartoonist's frequent black-and-white illustrations help to cast Timmy's adventure in an appropriately ironic light. Timmy may not be one of the great children's-book characters, but he has greatness in him. Just like all of us. (Comic mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.





Detective Timmy Failure is on the case…probably not a good thing for anyone involved. Timmy (formerly of Total Failure Inc., but he had to fire his partner, Total the polar bear) has a new case: someone stole the funds from YIP YAP, a charity created to raise money to buy books for the bookless tot Yergi Plimkin. Unfortunately, Timmy's mother is forcing him to use his precious spring break to help her boyfriend, Doorman Dave, move to Chicago. The investigation goes on the road, with the help of Timmy's best friend, Rollo Tookus, via telephone. Who will Timmy find as a scapegoat—er, discover to be the perpetrator? This case may answer these crucial questions: can Molly Moskins, criminal mastermind, be rehabilitated? Will Total the polar bear ever get enough bonbons? And what did Timmy actually hear his mother and Doorman Dave talking about that could change everything? Cartoonist Pastis brings his intelligent yet clueless, arrogantly overconfident detective back fo r a fourth nonsensical (and nonexistent) case. Some of the humor (such as the plays on song titles, quotes, and lyrics that name most chapters—"Rainy Days and Mothers Always Get Me Down," for instance) will fly over the heads of all in the target audience. Nevertheless, for fans of the bestselling series, this one's more of the same. Abundantly illustrated fun for readers who are tired of the Wimpy Kid. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.





This is a book about very nice people. None of them is Timmy Failure. The main character in a children's book is often the kindest, most heroic person in the story, but not here. Timmy spends his time in class drawing insulting baseball cards with pictures of his classmates. Molly Moskins has a crush on Timmy. Her baseball card says, "Characteristics: Mismatched pupils. Smells like tangerine." His best friend's card says, "Boring." In spite of that, his friends go out of their way to help him, and a good-natured teacher even asks if Timmy will draw him on a baseball card. (His card has only one word on the back: "Nosy.") Some readers will lose patience with Timmy, and they may even wonder if the book would be better with someone else as the main character. But there are several moments where Timmy is unironically sweet. Anyone familiar with the previous books in the series may be surprised at the genuine sentiment in a few scenes. There are actual hugs, and there's a deeply t ouching conversation with a very unlikely person. (Her baseball card says, "Occupation: Evil.") Timmy Failure is a classic antihero: Some readers will be drawn to the book because of him; others will be drawn to it in spite of him. (Comic mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.





If Inspector Clouseau were in grade school, he'd be Timmy Failure. Timmy has a secret admirer. He knows this, as he's received a note, covered in little hearts, that says, "You have a secret admirer!" His friends and relatives assume it's from Molly Moskins, since she follows him around saying, "Doesn't my Timmykins look handsomeful?"-and since another love note is signed, "LOVE MM (These are my initials)." Timmy assumes, with his typical logic, that the hearts are a coded death threat. "Think," he says to his great-aunt. "The heart is what keeps you alive." He has reason to be suspicious. He has very few admirers, partly because he keeps accusing his friends of crimes-especially Molly Moskins. In spite of that, they remain remarkably faithful and even help him solve the central mystery of the book, which loosely involves a detective contest at his school. Readers who found Timmy hard to take in his first book won't like him-or the terrible puns-any better here. (One chapter is titled "The Lying, the Watch, and the Poor Globe.") But his many fans will speed through the pages, and they'll love Pastis' illustrations, which feature an adorable polar bear shaped like a bowling pin. They may even adopt Timmy's motto: "When you lose hope, find it." A loonily intellectual alternative to that wimpy kid. (Comic mystery. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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