Bound To Stay Bound

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 Timmy Failure : mistakes were made
 Author: Pastis, Stephan

 Publisher:  Candlewick Press
 Pub Year: 2015

 Classification: Fiction
 Physical Description: 294 p.,  21 cm.

 BTSB No: 702834 ISBN: 9780763660505
 Ages: 8-12 Grades: 3-7

 Humorous fiction
 Polar bears -- Fiction
 Private investigators -- Fiction

Price: $14.02

[No. 1] Meet eleven-year-old Timmy Failure--the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town.

Timmy Failure, No. 1

Accelerated Reader Information:
   Interest Level: MG
   Reading Level: 3.80
   Points: 3.0   Quiz: 156819
Reading Counts Information:
   Interest Level: 3-5
   Reading Level: 3.10
   Points: 6.0   Quiz: 60039

   School Library Journal (05/01/13)
   Booklist (12/01/12)
 The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/13)

Full Text Reviews:

Booklist - 12/01/2012 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.

Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2013 As the lead (and only, if you don’t count the polar bear) detective at the Total Failure, Inc. Detective Agency (“We won’t fail, despite what the name says”), Timmy Failure is the go-to guy when his middle-school classmates are the victims of criminal behavior. Stolen candy? Timmy’s on it. Dead hamster? Timmy’s on it. Unfortunately, Timmy is also a bit of a blockhead, and it’s not likely that the mystery will be solved anytime soon. And what about Corinna Corinna, the beautiful dame with a knack for solving puzzles who’s Timmy’s biggest competitor—could she also be the culprit behind Timmy’s missing Segway and other efforts to “sabotage” Total Failure? If the opening scene that has Timmy crashing through a house in a stolen car with a 1,500-pound polar bear by his side doesn’t cue the reader that this is an exercise in absurdity, then they’re likely to be more clueless than Timmy. Pastis, the creator of the comic strip Pearls Before Swine, brings a wonderfully droll and playful humor to a younger audience, balancing more straightforward gags with bits of irony and sarcasm. The wide-eyed figures that populate Pastis’ pen and ink illustrations have a delightfully peculiar, coiled energy, and Timmy’s pal, the perpetually hungry polar bear, is most certainly a distant relative to the voracious wombat in French’s Diary of a Wombat (BCCB 11/03), in both looks and behavior. The plot is mostly secondary to the amusement factor (it’s pretty clear these mysteries aren’t getting solved), but there’s a nice emotional element to Timmy’s relationship with his struggling single mom, and readers will find a few moments of poignancy amidst all the laughs. KQG - Copyright 2013 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.

School Library Journal - 04/20/2013 Gr 3–8—Timmy Failure's new surname is completely apt. His original family name was "Fayleure," he explains, "but somebody changed it." And that bit of shallow self-assessment is just about the only accurate thing Timmy relates about himself for the rest of this highly illustrated comic novel as he unreliably narrates a boastful "historical record" of his adventures as the self-described founder, president, and CEO of the best detective agency in town, probably the state, perhaps the nation, Total Failure, Inc. Total is actually the name of Timmy's partner, a 1500-pound polar bear whose main talent seems to be eating trash. He's also "assisted," at times, by a sheepish and studious sidekick, Rollo Tookus, who often picks up on clues that soar completely past Timmy's selective attention as he, instead, focuses on demeaning Rollo for his supposed incompetence at every turn. And, of course, every master Investigator needs an evil nemesis, and Timmy's is Corrina Corrina, who looks like she might have been collaboratively created by Charles Schulz and Edward Gorey. While the book is not quite a graphic novel, Pastis, creator of the syndicated comic strip Pearls Before Swine, peppers nearly every page of this comic romp with at least one intentionally amateurish black-and-white illustration, enhancing the laughs along the way as Timmy misses even the most obvious clues in Clouseauesque fashion. Middle grade readers will appreciate all the silly sleuthing and absurd details, and older readers-including parents who come along for the ride-will find a satisfying layer of more sophisticated humor, too.—Jeffrey Hastings, Highlander Way Middle School, Howell, MI - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

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