Timmy Failure is a child detective, or he was until his mother forbad him to continue his agency, at least until the end of the school year. Who knew the teachers would go on strike and the school year would be extended with substitutes filling the vacancies. This all meant that Timmy would have to surreptitiously run his business and find another place to have his office so his mother doesn’t find out and ground him. He discovers the perfect location to run his operation after a visit to Home Despot – one of the sheds for sale in the store parking lot. Complications ensue – his partner is eating up the profits by snarfing down $1.00 hot dogs, his mother decides he needs piano lessons, his mode of transportation is a tricycle with a banner proclaiming “Bras For Sale”, he has to share a bedroom with two “loons” (his female cousins on a protracted visit), and his mom is getting married to Doorman Dave. When his best friend disappears and is presumed dead, Timmy must use his wiles to discover which of his many enemies did the deed. With the help of new assistant, Molly, Timmy goes undercover to examine each of the potential murderers.
Timmy Failure: The Book You Are Not Supposed to Have is the fifth book in the Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis, author of the syndicated cartoon Pearls Before Swine. This book is along the vein of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, not quite a graphic novel, but full of Pastis illustrations using his unique trademark style. There is quite a bit of subtle humor such as Timmy’s roly poly best friend whose last name is Tookus, and some not so subtle plot events where Timmy tears apart the orthodontist’s gift stuffed tooth looking for a microphone (Timmy dodges a bullet there because he is too young for braces). This book is sure to delight the middle schooler as they relate to Timmy’s misadventures and actions which can only be described as stupid or ridiculous. Timmy’s over the top behaviors and the adult responses to his actions are sure to tickle the funny bone of the typical preteen. However, as an adult, it was too many groans and “oh, no – you didn’t” responses to find the plot of this book truly enjoyable. I guess there is a tipping point for some where childish humor is no longer appreciated. Of course, there are many who love this sort of ridiculousness at any age and those are the fans who need to read this series.
Three and a half stars and a thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This review also appears on Goodreads.