My children introduced me to the world of Timmy Failure last summer when they bought the first two books in the series while we were on holiday, and laughed their way through them both.
I have reviewed both of the previous books on this site, and bought the third book: Timmy Failure, We Meet Again, for my daughter for Christmas. It has taken it this long to be read by everyone else in the family (including the cat), and now it is my turn.
There are lots of things I like about the Timmy Failure books. Firstly that they are heaps funnier than the Wimpy Kid books, and yet in the same vein as these and Tom Gates. They make perfect recommendations for children who’ve read all the usual suspects, as Timmy Failure is not so well known here in the UK. At the school I work in, the books have only just started to circulate, so there is still time to recommend/gift them, before they get ridiculously popular. And they will.
Secondly, they are very clever. They give children plenty to laugh at, but there is lots here for adults to be amused by. The language is sophisticated in a very subtle way that won’t alienate children. There are lots of textual allusions that you don’t ‘need’ to understand, but if you do, give the book a whole lot of depth that others in the genre miss.
Thirdly, they are actually quite serious if you choose to read them that way. In this book, for example, it becomes clear for the first time that Total, Timmy’s polar bear, is a figment of his imagination, made up by him because he is awkward and lonely and doesn’t have any real friends.
In each book Timmy is forced to look at an element of his personality or his growing up that is frightening or difficult and come to terms with it. The adults that seem so clueless are suddenly cast in a new light in relation to this issue/revelation, and Timmy sees their wisdom, or kindness or love, and is able to reveal a little of his own insecurity because of it.
At the same time, these more touchy feely aspects of the novel can be completely overlooked, and the book will still be deeply enjoyable for children.
In this third helping, Timmy is allowed to go back to his old school on the understanding that he does not upset anyone or do anything awful, or he is out for good. He is forced to partner his nemesis Corrina Corrina as they must work on a nature project together, and this is when things start to go wrong.
The chapters are short, the text is beautifully clear and there are lots of illustrations. This makes it a great chapter/transitional book, although less confident readers may need help with some of the vocabulary. Timmy is a fan of long and complex words. The book would work well for boy and girl readers aged 7-12.