Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mistakes Were Made (Timmy Failure, #1)” as Want to Read:
Mistakes Were Made (Timmy Failure, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mistakes Were Made (Timmy Failure #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  3,306 Ratings  ·  633 Reviews
Meet "detective" Timmy Failure, star of the kids’ comedy of the year. Created by New York Times best-selling cartoonist Stephan Pastis.

Take eleven-year-old 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 Fai
Hardcover, 294 pages
Published February 26th 2013 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe Runaway King by Jennifer A. NielsenRump by Liesl ShurtliffThe Ability by M.M. VaughanThe House of Hades by Rick Riordan
Middle Grade Novels of 2013
47th out of 373 books — 744 voters
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg SloanNavigating Early by Clare VanderpoolDoll Bones by Holly BlackEscape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris GrabensteinFlora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
Newbery 2014
29th out of 114 books — 456 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ryan  (The High-functioning Fangirl)
My little brother made me read this book a few months back, and I honestly really enjoyed it. Timmy was arrogant in a way that it was funny, and not utterly obnoxious (like some characters I won't mention). Now, if you excuse me, I'm going to go buy a polar bear side-kick for myself.
Nov 17, 2015 Irena rated it it was amazing
My friend, who is a librarian in the children's library, wanted me to read his favorite children's book.
He said it has a smart humour and then he told me he actually doesn't know in which age rang this book belongs.

Do you know what I think? In every age rang!
Because, I think the adults will appreciate this story written in the child's perspective and children will have a great time reading it, no matter what their age is.

Let me show you who we're dealing with here:

This is Timmy:

He has a detect
Barb Middleton
Jun 16, 2014 Barb Middleton rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
In English classes, teachers often have lessons where students examine the reliability of a character's voice. Some tell the truth and some don't. Huckleberry Finn is an "unreliable narrator" who even says outright that sometimes he tells the truth, sometimes he lies, and sometimes he stretches the truth. Take a look at Holden Caulfield in "Catcher and the Rye," another top-notch unreliable narrator spewing contradictory statements and hyperboles in most of his dialogue. Some unreliable narrator ...more
Feb 26, 2013 Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
Ah, Timmy Failure. I'm a little confused about how I feel about this book. It's hysterical, well written, introduces some new vocabulary (to myself, in addition to the middle-grade readers this book is aimed at), and shows glimpses at more serious real-life issues (single motherhood, economical issues, struggles in school). At the same time though, there's some mean name calling, hatred towards a little girl with no real reason (a little girl we find out is dealing with some family issues of her ...more
I've heard Timmy Failure described as the "the next Diary of a Wimpy Kid." I love statements like that. They get the best eye-rolls. But wait, check out the first lines.

"It's harder to drive a polar bear into somebody's living room than you'd think. You need a living room window that's big enough to fit a car. You need a car that's big enough to fit a polar bear. And you need a bolar bear that's big enough to not point out your errors."

I know what you're thinking. How will the rest of a book fro
Jan 30, 2013 Betsy rated it really liked it
Call it the attack of the syndicated cartoonists. For whatever reason, in the year 2013 we are seeing droves of escapees from the comic strip pages leaping from the burning remains of the newspaper industry into the slightly less volatile world of books for kids. How different could it be, right? As a result you’ve The Odd Squad by Michael Fry (Over the Hedge) and Zits Chillax by Jerry Scott (Zits). Even editorial cartoonists are getting in on the act with Pulitzer prize winner Matt Davies and h ...more
Jul 26, 2013 Kristi rated it did not like it
So, what I liked:

Pastis describes boys to a tee. Page 7: Drawing of Mom wagging finger and saying "Never. Ever. Ever." To which Timmy says, "I thought that was vague. So I use it."

That had me rolling.

What I didn't like:

Timmy reminds me of Greg from DIARY OF A WIMPY KID. They're both jerks. They treat their friends rotten and they're completely selfish and unambitious. This is not an accurate, or even a likable, portrayal of boys.

Also, I kept waiting for the big reveal, that Timmy has Asperger'
Jackie "the Librarian"
Timmy Failure lost me. This looked like it should be funny, but I just didn't like it very much. The cartoony line art was appealing, and the idea of a clueless boy detective with a polar bear sidekick sounded like it had lots of potential.
The problem was, I just didn't like Timmy. Not only was he clueless and irresponsible, he was kind of a jerk to his classmates.
I did like his relationship with his mother and the new teacher, and there I could see a glimmer of appeal. Timmy is so utterly in
Feb 26, 2013 Adina rated it it was amazing
What I love about Timmy Failure is that you can read it on two levels. On the one hand, it's hilarious. Timmy's delusions of grandeur and boundless faith in himself make for a lot of funny situations. But the adult reader, and probably quite a few sophisticated kids, will also see Timmy struggling to make a very imperfect world into the one he'd rather have, and will be happy when things turn out well for Timmy despite his best efforts.
May 24, 2015 Erik rated it really liked it
Timmy Failure je môj nový najobľúbenejší osemročný hrdina!
Má toľko dobrých heftov, že kebyže ich mám vypísať, tak to bude polka knihy! Akože fakt si to prečítajte. Timmy Failure stojí za to. A ak si udrží kvalitu aj v Ďalších častiach, tak sa veľmo teším!
I like him very much!

I asked mother for a teleconference to discuss this and other thingsm but she is constantly rescheduling. I'm not pushing the issue for now, but I expect it will come up at her year-end review. That's the annu
Mar 29, 2013 Adam rated it really liked it
It's no Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze, but it's pretty good. The main character is equally as inept and self-centered as Wimpy Kid, but not nearly as rude or whiny. He comes off as more just...oblivious and bumbling.

Definitely some recognizable humor and style from Pearls Before Swine.

I reviewed this on the TMC Guys Read Blog at
Original Doll (Lea Martinuš)
Bliže se dani darivanja, a želite obradovati malog školarca knjigom? Ova je knjiga odličan poklon, a uz to što je zabavna, edukativna je i za klince i za odrasle.

Jedanaestogodišnji Timi direktor je svoje detektivske agencije koja rješava misterije u školi i van nje. A kakav bi to bio detektiv kad ne bi imao pratnera? Njegov kućni ljubimac, polarni medvjed zvan Totalka, pomaže mu kod rješavanja (naizgled) jako kompliciranih slučajeva. Pošto se Timi preziva Promašaj, tvrtka je nazvana Totalka Prom
Ms. Yingling
Nov 24, 2012 Ms. Yingling rated it liked it
Timmy lives with his mother and his polar bear, Total, and is obsessed with his budding detective agency, Total Failure. (His last name is Failure.) He hopes to grow his business so that it makes a lot of money so that his mother can stop stressing about bills, but he is not getting many jobs since the evil Corinna Corinna is undercutting his business, aided by her father's vast wealth. Timmy has some helpful people in his life, like the playground aide, Dondi, his mother, and his friends Rollo ...more
Paul  Hankins
From the creator of PEARLS BEFORE SWINE, this one reads like The Wimpy Kid meets Calvin and Hobbs meets I AM A GENIUS OF INCREDIBLE EVIL AND I WANT TO BE YOUR CLASS PRESIDENT.

This one has some layers that do not get as fully developed (single mother, family economics, new relationships) as say a similar title, MILO: STICKY NOTES AND BRAIN FREEZES (loss, grief, single parent homes), but I think the target audience for this title will not mind this so much with the bumbling antics of Timmy, Rollo,
Mar 24, 2013 Nicole rated it really liked it
Timmy Failure: Mistakes were Made (Book 1) by Stephan Pastis
Candlewick, 2013
294 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

Timmy Failure thinks himself to be a topnotch detective that is destined to run a multi-billion dollar detective agency. The irony here is that Timmy does live up to his name, no matter how much he tries to assure readers he isn't a failure, by missing the blatantly obvious answers to all his cases.
When Timmy borrows his mother's Segway and loses it, he is determined to
Aug 18, 2013 babyhippoface rated it it was ok
Shelves: kids-fiction, humor
Rating Decision Crisis: 2 stars, or 3? Started slow, Timmy too much like Wimpy Kid/AwfulHumanBeing Greg Heffley, but improved, slowly....

Did warrant a few chuckles, though; Timmy's statement that Corrina Corrina "has the ethics of a donkey" made me laugh out loud, as did his understanding that Flo the Librarian was reading more books about killing innocent creatures when he sees him reading my favorite book of all-time, To Kill a Mockingbird. Another truly funny moment comes when Timmy sees the
Feb 24, 2014 Liam added it
Shelves: 2nd-term
This book is about a middle school student named Timmy Failure, and although his business is small now, he thinks eventually he will own the most successful detective business on the earth; but for now he's stuck operating out of his mother's closet. Case after case, Timmy is becoming a better detective, that is until his competition, Corrina Corrina, starts stealing his cases... and his segway. Even though he's failing in school, his mom got a new boyfriend, and his best friend is being tutored ...more
Aric Cushing
Probably one of the funniest books I've ever read. If you want to laugh out loud, and you're an adult, or an adult-kid, or a kid, pick this one up.
Brittany Benton
Aug 30, 2016 Brittany Benton rated it it was amazing
Goodness gracious! Only for 8-12 year olds, huh? Why I oughta.....(makes an imaginary fist, finishes conversation with polar bear). Adorable, witty, goodness. Like eating a chocolate candy bar that's so sweet it makes your teeth hurt but it was totally worth it....and now you have post-candy bar guilt. I sadly cannot overstate how much I simply ADORED this children's book. Now to just regress into my childlike (don't you dare say childish!) headspace & hold my blankie & maybe sip some j ...more
Theo Rogers
Mar 03, 2015 Theo Rogers rated it really liked it
Like a lot of the better children's literature, this is a book that can be read on at least two levels.

On the simplest level, it's a straightforward comedy about the bumbling misadventures of an unbelievably oblivious would-be boy-detective: a kind of grade-school Clouseau.

On a more adult level, it's... well, I wouldn't want to spoil it for you, so I'm going to put my take on what this book is really all about in a separate section with a SPOILER ALERT below. One thing I will mention, since I'm
Amanda Harris
Jun 08, 2013 Amanda Harris rated it liked it
Timmy Failure along with his best friend, a polar bear named Total...who seems to me is an imaginary friend, team up to open a detective agency called, "Total Failure". Timmy is a big fat zero when solving cases and seems to be misunderstood by everyone around him. Was the name foretelling of the agency's future or what??

Timmy finds himself in all kinds of sticky situations and to make matters worse, he continues to lie about things that just aren't worth lying about. Just when you think Timmy'
Jan 12, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing
"It's harder to drive a polar bear into somebody's living room than you'd think. You need a living-room window that's big enough to fit a car. You need a car that's big enough to fit a polar bear. And you need a polar bear that's big enough to not point out your errors." And so begins this hysterical story of Timmy Failure, founder, president, and CEO of his own detective agency. Unfortunately, his detective agency which is called Total Failure (there's a story behind that, but he doesn't want t ...more
May 13, 2013 Julie rated it liked it
Shelves: kids
This has 26 holds at our library, and I wanted to see if it was a good suggestion for Wimpy Kid lovers. It sort of is.

The art is great, and I suspect the title and cover are a big reason for the high holds. It's definitely the style of Wimpy Kid, with the characters being possibly closer to upper-elementary age.

However. Even though I thought it was often funny, I don't think kids are going to find it as funny. For example, will they get title headings like, "Orange juice. Shaken. Not stirred"
Oct 15, 2015 Charlie rated it it was amazing
Timmy Failure is by far the best book i have ever read. Its extremely funny i read it and could not stop laughing.
Im not joking either its not just funny its also just a great book overall. There is a second, a third and now a fourth (which i haven't read but can't wait to read) This book is the first and is the funniest the other books are funny as well but this one takes gold in the race for being the best and funniest. Im going to give this brilliant book a 5 star rating.:D
Aug 18, 2013 mg rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Timmy wanted to run his business with his partner who was a polar bear. But there was his rival who would get in the way and stop him from growing his business, And he was to get held back because of his grades. His mom stopped him from running his business and sent his bear to the zoo. So he worked hard and got back on track, then he got his bear and continued his business.
Cathy Hall
Jun 24, 2013 Cathy Hall rated it liked it
It was hard, giving Stephan Pastis three stars. Because seriously, I love, love, LOVE the guy's cartoon strip. And even more, because there were parts in TIMMY FAILURE:MISTAKES WERE MADE where I laughed out loud. But more often, there were whole chapters where I thought the humor was too sophisticated for third graders. And even fourth graders. I think 8, 9, and 10 year olds are the target audience for this book--and I know plenty of smart 8, 9, and 10 year olds. Heck, I birthed a couple kids li ...more
May 05, 2013 Brenda rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, humor
I liked the character of Timmy but am curious how much others will enjoy him. Maybe it's his over confidence in his detective skills or his bumbling nature, he just isn't really as good at crime solving as he thinks he is. Yet, maybe that is his charm. Timmy does land himself in some interesting predicaments and I can see children enjoying how he gets out of them. Timmy's 1500 pound sidekick business partner, Total the polar bear was hard to imagine wandering around solving cases with him but t ...more
Dec 18, 2013 Jacoba rated it it was ok
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis (2013)
Genre: Fiction
Format: eBook
Plot summary:Resolving to earn so much money that his mother will no longer stress out over the bills, eleven-year-old Timmy Failure launches a detective business with a lazy polar bear partner named Total but finds their enterprise "Total Failure, Inc." challenged by a college-bound spy and a four-foot-tall girl whom Timmy refuses to acknowledge.
Considerations or precautions for readers advisory (strong languag
May 01, 2013 Chris rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for a flawed, unreliable narrator, love understated, deadpan humor, and believe self-delusion is an unavoidable fact of life that should be embraced by all good stories, so it would seem that Timmy Failure has a winning formula for me since it has all three of these in abundance. Unfortunately, the humor never quite connected with my funny bone. I think it had something to do with how obviously hard Pastis works to make sure readers notice Timmy's failings and feel superior in respo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
RDNG 636 Fall 2015: Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made 1 2 Oct 11, 2015 08:18AM  
What did you guys Like the most? 1 2 Jan 14, 2015 10:36AM  
Timmy Failure Mistakes Were Made 4 26 Feb 18, 2014 07:46PM  
  • Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor (Frank Einstein, #1)
  • The Terrible Two
  • The Frog Who Croaked (Platypus Police Squad, #1)
  • 33 Minutes
  • Planet Tad
  • Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies
  • The Sasquatch Escape (The Imaginary Veterinary, #1)
  • Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy
  • The Tell-Tale Start
  • The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett (Origami Yoda, #4)
  • The Tapper Twins go to War (With Each Other) (The Tapper Twins, #1)
  • How to Grow Up and Rule the World, by Vordak the Incomprehensible (Vordak #1)
  • The Awesome Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz
  • Sadie and Ratz
  • The Center of Everything
  • Extreme Babymouse (Babymouse, #17)
  • Stick Dog (Stick Dog, #1)
  • Henry and the Cannons: An Extraordinary True Story of the American Revolution
Stephan Pastis was born in 1968 and raised in San Marino, California, a suburb of Los Angeles. He graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1989 with a degree in political science. Although he had always wanted to be a syndicated cartoonist, Pastis realized that the odds of syndication were slim, so he entered UCLA Law School in 1990 and became an attorney instead. He practiced la ...more
More about Stephan Pastis...

Other Books in the Series

Timmy Failure (5 books)
  • Now Look What You've Done (Timmy Failure, #2)
  • We Meet Again (Timmy Failure, #3)
  • Sanitized for Your Protection (Timmy Failure, #4)
  • The Book You're Not Supposed to Have (Timmy Failure, #5)

Share This Book