Stephan Pastis’ New York Times best-selling Timmy Failure book series had seven installments published by Disney Hyperion before it was adapted as a Disney+ Original film. Now fans of the books and film can learn all about Timmy’s auspicious beginnings in a new prequel book titled Timmy Failure: Zero to Hero that takes place in the fall. This hilarious illustrated adventure follows Timmy on his rise to sleuthing greatness to answer the following questions:

  • How did Timmy Failure become a detective?
  • Where did his distinguished red scarf come from?
  • How did Timmy really meet his polar bear Total?

When Timmy Failure’s grand vision for his Halloween costume falls through, his mom pulls out an old Sherlock Holmes costume and Timmy discovers his calling in life. Born for greatness and to be a detective, Timmy’s first case ends up being his own when his new favorite shirt (“I Heart Grits”) goes missing. Mistaking the southern comfort food as the pluralization of his agency’s motto (Grit), Timmy picks up his first employee on his first big case, his trusty polar bear Total.

I’ve seen the Disney+ film, but have never read one of the books before. Presumably, the origins of Timmy’s meeting with Total are contradicted several times in the book series and this prequel provides yet another way that Timmy meets his endangered sidekick. The book also further explains why Timmy considers Corrina Corrina to be his lifelong nemesis and features other characters from the film and book series, including his best friend Rollo and classmates Toody Tululu and Molly Moskins.

The book is mostly written by Rolo, who has taken dictation from Timmy and added annotations when Timmy’s wild imagination takes over. Comic-esque illustrations convey Timmy’s wild imagination, which made their way into the feature film adaptation as well. Arguments between Timmy and Rollo occasionally break out and then the format switches to a transcript of recorded audio, always with a sincere apology from Disney Hyperion for the poor quality of the narrative.

Timmy Failure: Zero to Hero is a hilarious quick read about the humble beginnings of a boy who thinks he knows all while misunderstanding everything. In many ways, this prequel is a look at the first mistakes that were made on Timmy’s quest to achieving the greatness he knows he was born for (and the book even features a recounting of his biblical entry into the world). Whether you’re a diehard reader of the book series or just discovered Timmy Failure through the Disney+ film, you’re sure to love Timmy Failure: Zero to Hero.