Monday, May 6, 2013

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

So how did I do for Screen-Free Week? Well... I have to admit it was hard. Mistakes were made, which ties in perfectly with the book I'm featuring this week. 

I managed to stay off Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube -- no problem. Staying away from TV was not that big a deal, since I don't watch that much anyway. Except, gulp, Jeopardy! I actually watched it the first night without thinking. Mea culpa. Mistakes were made.

Staying away from all of your blogs and my own was tough. Okay, yes, I admit I visited Katia's because it's in my email feed and when I saw that I'd won a book from her I had to go thank her! And DL Hammons was having a contest... So yes, mistakes were made.

You may not realize how often you use the internet in your daily life. First thing Monday April 29th, I turned on my laptop to look up directions to this place*, and I thought, Wait a minute! I can't do this. It's Screen-Free Week.  I continued to struggle with this for days. I wanted to look up a thousand things. For the most part, I was able to stay away, but it was difficult. How quickly we've all become accustomed to instant information. 

On the plus side, I managed to read three books and write several thousand words on my current MG novel. I cleaned out our closet, got outside a lot, and worked on my flowerbeds. So I'm not a total failure. :) And on Tuesday my husband and I visited:

*Yes, it's Hershey's Chocolate World, a haven for chocolate lovers

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Now for another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (brainchild of Shannon Messenger). I'm also participating in Deb Marshall's May Middle Grade Reading Challenge. Go see what that's all about!

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made written and illustrated by Stephan Pastis (Feb 26, 2013, Candlewick, for ages 8 to 12, first book in a new series)


Source: hardcover borrowed from a friend (Thanks, Mariga!)

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Take Timmy Failure — the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile — Timmy’s mom’s Segway — and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore. Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into "Stanfurd" that he can’t carry out a no-brainer spy mission.

Why I liked it: It's hilarious! Timmy's constant misinterpretation of the clues makes him a bumbling detective like Peter Sellers in the Pink Panther movies. This will definitely appeal to fans of Wimpy Kid and Big Nate and should be a hit with reluctant readers. The chapters are short and accompanied by lots of drawings. The characters are quirky (I love the librarian, who looks like he belongs in Hell's Angels). The illustrations definitely add to the charm, as they're often showing something different from what Timmy is telling us.

If Stephan Pastis sounds familiar, he's a cartoonist and the creator of Pearls Before Swine. This is his first book for children.

Have you read Timmy Failure? If not, what illustrated middle-grade book is your favorite?



38 comments:

  1. I can see how students would like this, but I think I prefer Pearls Before Swine to this. Maybe it is more elementary school goofy. It's a fine line. Admit to really liking the Big Nate. He is so spot on for a middle school student.

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    1. Oh, I love Pearls Before Swine! But I think boys, especially, would enjoy the silly humor in this. Big Nate's great, though, I agree.

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  2. I'd about die if I turned off the computer for a week. I confess my sin: I need it and have too much of my life going on there. I'd say you did great with it.

    This sounds like a fun read.

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    1. Ha ha, Natalie! You could do it if you had to. Although with smart phones, we can all check our email and look up stuff even on vacation.

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  3. Sounds hilarious. :) Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I'd count it as success even if mistakes were made! It's tough...staying off the internet, I mean. Near impossible for me probably since acquiring an iPhone for Christmas.

    Sounds like just the right story for you this week! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. That's generous of you, Barbara! :)

      It would have been impossible for me to go COMPLETELY screen-free, since I still wanted to write (and a computer's so much faster than pen and paper) and I still allowed myself to check email once or twice a day.

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  5. This looks like a cute one.

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  6. I think you did pretty good, considering how many books you read, plus the writing and all the other fun you had. :)
    I've never heard of this fun book and will make sure to add it to my list.
    I think the last illustrated MG that I've read is The Cloneward Bound.

    ~Akoss

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    1. Thanks, Akoss! I actually read more than that. :)

      And I still need to read Cloneward Bound. Another book on the TBR list.

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  7. You certainly encouraged me to put down the ipad and sit outside in the hammock without a single electronic device on Sunday. Thanks for that. This sounds really cute, and like something my little readers at home would like. I will have to get it from the library!
    thanks for sharing.

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    1. Blogger is eating my comments. I thought I'd answered this two hours ago...

      Yay for you for getting outside for a day with no electronics. It can be soothing.

      Hope your kids enjoy Timmy Failure!

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    1. Hi Susan! It was a lot of fun to read. And I loved the drawings.

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  9. Sounds like a really cute book!

    Screen Free Week? Who thought of that?
    I couldn't do it. I admit it.

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    1. Yep, it's a tough challenge.

      The idea was dreamed up by an organization called Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. So they're really aiming at kids, but you know I'm a kid at heart. :)

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  10. I've wanted to read this book since I first laid eyes on it. Such fun. (I like your blog by the way...delurking :)
    Must read this book...

    Love illustrated MG...loved "Milo". That was illustrated and a lot of fun! I also think James Patterson's MG series "I Funny" or "Middle Grade: The Worse Years of my Life".

    Jill A.

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    1. Thanks, Jill! Glad you found me. I haven't read those James Patterson books, but I know which ones you mean.

      I should read Milo. That's Sticky notes and Brain Freeze, right?

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  11. Joanne, I admire you for doing screen free week--even though mistakes were made!

    I pretty much gave up watching TV in 1998, when I took The Artist's Way class. One of the disciplines is to give up media for a week. Unluckily for me, it was during the Winter Olympics, and I'm a huge Olympics nut. I had my wife tape all the events (as well as keep silent about the results!) and binged on all the video tapes when the week was up.

    Of course, I didn't have internet, blogs, Facebook etc. back then. It would be 100 times more difficult nowadays. (Although I still don't watch TV. That part stuck with me.)

    I'll have to give Timmy Failure a look. I love Peter Sellers!

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    1. Screen-free week really was tough, Michael. I cheated a bit by checking my email every day. But I only answered the ones I absolutely had to answer (which is why I'm still catching up). Surprisingly (or maybe not) staying away from facebook was not a big deal. When I'm on it, I waste hours. But I found by simply not going on, I was blithely unaware of what everyone was up to, and had a lot of extra time to read and write!

      I really admire you for giving up TV. I can't give it up completely. I love Jeopardy too much. And I still have guilty pleasures like Revenge, so yeah, I DVR'd it. I'm about to watch it now. Somehow I feel that's cheating, though. We didn't have DVRs or VCRs when I was a kid!

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  12. wow - voice is perfectly captured in the title, and then also the cover! sounds fantastic.

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    1. Isn't that cover great? And yes, the title is perfect.

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  13. Was it last week? Because I did horrible. Even though I had scheduled my reviews to post, I was on the computer for Monday and Tuesday. We went to Disney World, then so no more computer! :)
    Erik

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    1. Hi Erik! Yes, it was last week. No worries about going online. It's tough not to. And hope you had a great time in Disney World! That's much better than Chocolate World!

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  14. Way to go on your screen free week...and the screen time mistakes totally made sense to me, lol!

    And I am SO getting this book...love love the cover and really love the sound of it!

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    1. Thanks, Deb! Glad my mistakes made sense!

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  15. Oh..and favorite illustrated middle grade...kind of love Inventions of Hugo Cabret.

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    1. Well that's the epitome, isn't it? No one does it like Brian Selznick.

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  16. I mean Invention of Hugo Cabret! Yeesh. Alrighty then, I am done comment stalking your blog :P

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  17. The closest I come to unplugging is when I travel for business, but that ended with the invention of the smartphone. I commend your resiliency!!

    I'm also glad to hear that I'm a bad habit! :)

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    1. I wouldn't call your blog a bad habit, DL! But it has become addictive, especially with that devilishly clever contest you were running in April...

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  18. Timmy Failure sounds like such a fun read. Glad to hear it is hilarious. :) Thanks for sharing!

    I found your screen free week to be fascinating. I can understand falling into your normal routine and making mistakes. I watch Jeopardy ever night, too! I didn't go screen free last week- but I did give it a try a couple of years ago, along with my class. TV wasn't too hard- but the internet was tough! I think it would be even harder now that I have a smartphone. :)
    ~Stephanie

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    1. Hi Stephanie! Another Jeopardy fan - yay!

      It's nearly impossible to go screen-free today. That's what worries me...

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  19. Congrats on trying to be screen-free. I know I could never do that completely!

    Thanks for the book share. I've seen bits and pieces of it, so it was nice to hear your thoughts.

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