Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done

Book review by
Barbara Schultz, Common Sense Media
Timmy Failure: Now Look What You've Done Book Poster Image
Sequel to boy-detective graphic novel brings more laughs.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Kids will learn a bit about the elements of detective fiction and about the characteristics of polar bears and lovebirds.

Positive Messages

This Timmy Failure story encourages kids to go after what they want, even if others think they're a little crazy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even more than Timmy's devoted, beleaguered mom, his great-aunt Colander inspires him with her ambition and supports him with understanding.


Timmy's slapstick antics result in his breaking his left leg almost as soon as he gets the cast off the right one. His accidents also result in classroom pratfalls, a broken window, and mangled topiary.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the second graphic novel in Stephan Pastis' Timmy Failure series revisits humor and issues explored in the first book, Mistakes Were Made. Timmy's antics are quirky, funny, and very entertaining, but grownups and older kids also can tell that he acts out and pretends not to understand what's going on when he's disturbed by the ways his world is changing. Timmy's antics result in a couple of cartoon injuries (no pain or blood) and some damaged property but nothing disturbing or graphic. One chapter head blends a reference to Winston Churchill with language from an old cigarette ad ("Winston Sounds Good Like a Great Leader Should"), but no one smokes in the book.

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What's the story?

Eleven-year-old Timmy Failure, the self-proclaimed world's greatest detective, and his unemployed mom move into the mansion inhabited by Timmy's great-aunt Colander. All that upheaval provokes Timmy to more of the unusual behavior he exhibited in Book 1 of the series, Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made. He interacts with an imaginary polar bear, indulges in paranoid fantasies, and seems to willfully ignore the obvious. When his school holds a detective competition (asking who stole the principal's globe), complete with suspects and clues, he believes he'll win and the prize money will solve all his problems. But things don't go according to plan, and Timmy decides that the only way to win the school competition is to misbehave even worse.

Is it any good?

Like the first book in this series, this is at once a hilarious, slapstick graphic novel and a poignant story about the ways life changes deeply affect youngsters' feelings and behavior. Author Stephan Pastis' simple, expressive line drawings are a big part of the humor here, as is Timmy's head-slapping cluelessness. Middle graders and teens will laugh at Timmy's antics and be touched by the support and guidance his friends and family give him.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about graphic novels. How does the Timmy Failure series compare with other graphic-novel series you may have read?

  • Timmy's mom worries that he's acting out at school for a reason. Why does she think Timmy's behaving poorly?

  • What does Timmy learn from his great-aunt Colander?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and anime

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