Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Funny Journal-Style Middle Grade


Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis
Timmy Failure and his sidekick --ahem, business partner-- are like Calvin & Hobbes if Calvin was dense and Hobbes was a seal-obsessed polar bear. Together, Timmy and Total form Total Failure, Inc, a detective agency Timmy is sure will soon be an international corporation making billions-- or at least enough to pay his mom's bills. The only thing standing in Timmy's way is the CCIA or Corrina Corrina Intelligence Agency run by the evilest girl in Timmy's class. Oh, and his grade obsessed best friend (possible traitor) and an infatuated classmate (international thief). Stephan Pastis' hilarious novel is perfect for kids obsessed with Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Calvin & Hobbes. Okay, adults will laugh, too.

Under the humor are serious situations faced by many kids.
(spoilers as to what these issues are below)

Timmy's mom is finding it difficult to pay the bills and she and Timmy end up moving into an apartment. Timmy immediately dislikes his mom's boyfriend (ultimately, his mom realizes the boyfriend does not care as much about Timmy as his car and ends it). Timmy's grades are low but with the right teacher (who sees Timmy as an individual)Timmy begins to do very well. These underlying issues elevate the book to more than just another journal-style middle grade series.

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