In New Kid Catastrophes, TJ accidentally makes an enemy of Hesper Breakahart, the superstar who attends their school. And Tuna and Herby's attempts to help just lead to one disaster after another. In the end, TJ is still very unpopular, but she learns the value of looking past appearances and gains a few friends-and the attention of the most popular boy in school.
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TJ has just moved to California and is trying to get adjusted to her surroundings and new school which is easier said then done. Two time travelers have arrived and won't leave her alone. They are trying to help her learn to look past people's outward appearance but their help isn't always appreciated.
New Kid Catastrophes 1, TJ and the Time Stumblers, is adorable.
This goof-troop of time-traveling kids kept me engaged and amused. Kids will easily relate to these silly, charming, magical characters (TJ, Tuna, and Herby) and the dilemmas they face (being the new kid/outsider.) I do have to say though—I feel this book should be geared toward grade school readers rather than teens.
Everything about this book is original. I, an adult, enjoyed this first Time Stumblers tale and recommend it for young readers. A good, clean, fun, engaging read.
Changing schools in middle school or junior high can be scary, when 13-year-old TJ Finkelstein transfers from Missouri to Malibu Junior High, everything that can go wrong, does. As two teenage time travelers, Herby and Tuna, try to intervene, TJ immediately alienates the most popular girl in the school, movie star, Hesper Breakaheart, while resisting the friendship of the class geek. Her attraction to the class smoot also gets her into one mess after another. And her time traveling guardians, Herby and Tuna’s continual bungling—accidentally changing people into weird objects and animals—goes from complicated to outrageous, placing TJ into a hole she may never escape.
The author uses slapstick humor, hyperbole and two teenage time travelers to help TJ through the transition and she learns a lesson about favoritism along the way. Although primarily aimed at middle school girls this book should also appeal to boys with nonstop action and great humor.
New Kid Catastrophes is the first TJ and the Time Stumblers book in the series. In this book, seventh grader TJ is the new kid in school. After her mother died from cancer, her father moved TJ and her two little sisters from Missouri to Florida and there is a lot that TJ needs to adjust too. As she is struggling to get familiar with her new surroundings, she meets two boys from the 23rd century who have decided to study her childhood as their research project. Unfortunately, for TJ, she is the only one who can see and hear them and this does not go well for her. First, the neighborhood heartthrob thinks she has a mental illness because TJ appears to speak to herself. The time travelers also cause a injury to a popular and famous girl, who also stars in a tv series, and TJ is blamed causing the entire school to hate her. Also, the only two people at the school that seem to like and accept TJ are two unpopular and “geekish” kids: Naomi and Doug. At first, TJ treats them as pariahs and really doesn’t want anything to do with them because she rather hang out with the more popular kids, however, TJ learns a valuable lesson with the help from the time travelers: don’t show favoritism to those who are more popular and to look past the superficial. Though this book is geared to teen readers, as an adult, I found this book to be very humorous and enjoyable to read. I also liked how Bill Myers used this simple story to teach a very important truth to its readers: don’t judge a book by its cover because real beauty is not on the outside but within and we should treat everyone equally despite how they look. I think that this is an excellent concept for teenagers to learn especially because of the pressure that teens feel today to be popular. This is a book that I think every teenager should read before starting junior high and/or high school. There is more to this book than the humor found within it.
TJ has just moved from Missouri to Malibu, California, where she has to make new friends. A pair of time travelers from the 23rd century arrive and follow her around, sometimes causing trouble for her.
I thought this was a cute story that middle school children might enjoy. The story was rather wacky and the change in font got annoying, but overall, not bad.
I've been a bit torn about this book since finishing it. The book was funny but a little all over the place. I read that the author was also the writer for the Magee and Me video series ... the book reads a lot like one of those old videos. There was a decent amount of "cheese" factor, but I could look past a lot of it because the story was cute.
My main "issue" is that I'm not really sure who the target audience for this series is. The main characters are in middle school and some of the issues (crushes on boys, dealing with the death of a parent, etc.) seemed geared more for middle schoolers. However, the book is really written in a style that seems more appropriate for younger elementary ages (1st-4th graders). I'm just not sure who will read this book and love it.
Overall, a cute story. It would be worth giving it a shot with your kids if they enjoy funny, outlandish stories.
This is a well written fun adventure for middle schoolers. It has lots of breaks in the text to keep the child's attention kinda reminiscent of a graphic novel. My daughter enjoyed it and couldn't put it down.
This is a really fun series with an unusual concept and likeable bumbling time travellers. I'm over-qualified for the stories for YA and kids but I enjoy them, so I read them anyway. This author writes extremely well and makes me laugh. This has creativity, action, and futuristic technology that malfunctions frequently. The main characters are mostly believable, with some exaggeration, which makes a point in an amusing way. I am planning to read the rest of the series to find out what happens next.
I received the TJ and the Time Stumblers series (6 books in all) for my classroom, and they quickly became hits with a lot of the kids. A Christian riff on Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, the Time Stumblers series features Herby and Tuna, two silly guys from the 2200’s who travel back in time to the twenty-first century in order to get some first-hand data for their history project on TJ Finkelstein, a great world leader from their past. They end up stuck with a seventh-grade version of TJ in her own time, and while they work on finding their way home they help TJ learn many of the biblical virtues and life lessons that will make her a godly and revered leader one day. My female students love that the books feature a godly heroine who, though destined for greatness, struggles with the same hardships, homework, and heartbreaks as them; and the boys get a kick out of Herby and Tuna’s antics.
New Kid Catastrophes: Though TJ is destined to become a great world leader, she is still relatively unpopular at her middle school. This reality is made more real to her when she inadvertently makes an enemy of the teen celebrity who attends her school, Hesper Breakaheart. Plenty of hijinks ensue when Tuna and Herby try to help, and TJ ultimately learns that conduct and character are more important than appearance and popularity.
TJ has moved from Missouri to Californiaand is trying to adjust. Unfortunately that is nearly impossible when everything that could go wrong does—like when two surfer dudes from the 23rd century show up to study her and try to help her. For entertainment value, it is a clean and funny story. Lots of crazy things happen. While this is Christian fiction it is only blatant in one short scene. But for literary value, it falls short. The overall premise and character arc are weak. It is a good idea poorly executed. If you’re looking for clean and funny for an 8-12 year old, it works. In fact, I just handed it to my 10 year old.
If you thought that your Jr. High experience was bad, than obviously you haven’t met TJ. Aka- Thelma Jean Finkelstein, the main character in Bill Myers newest tween series ‘TJ and the Time Stumblers’. In the first book New Kid Catastrophes, seventh-grader TJ has just moved with her Dad and two younger sisters from Missouri to sunny Malibu, California. Unfortunately for her, her first day at her new school doesn’t go too well when she almost automatically becomes mortal enemies with Hesper Breakahart- the most popular girl in school, who just so happens to also be a star on the Dizzy Channel. Not only that, but now she has two goofball guys, Tuna and Herby, following her around from the 23rd-century. Which would be fine if they weren’t constantly trying to “help” her, which ultimately leads to more mayhem and even more embarrassment for the new kid at school. So what do you do when nothing seems to go your way, and navigating your way through Jr. High seems like a perilous journey? You make the best of it and hopefully learn some important lessons, such as honesty and kindness, along the way. This is a great little book for tweens. It’s wacky, fun, full of off-beat humor, and will leave them laughing and entertained at the end. Not only that, but the content is clean, and Myers has even sprinkled in some valuable messages about how we should treat others, no matter how hard that may seem.
The main character is very very ditsy and blond though she isn't ~ this is portrayed in everything she does, nothing seems to go as planned for her. Her family has moved to a new home where she meets new friends and new challenges. She is visited by time travelers and they need her help to get back home. Much humor is intertwined in this book while the time travelers use gadgets that have gone wacky and you never know what might happen next. Plans are changed as they use these gadgets when they don't get the outcome they were seeking. While there is much mayhem and laughter throughout the book the characters learn what is truly means to be kind, patient, loving and honest in all things. My teen daughter and I have enjoyed reading this book as a read-a-loud.
thanks to tyndale for supplying me with a free book for this review purpose.
When I saw this book up for review I signed up for it quick, it looked the like the perfect book to read with my son (He's 9). I was right!! The book was perfect for his age group/reading abilities and I loved the message and actions of the kids portrayed in the story! I love that the main character in the story (TJ) is considered "Unpopular" I think it builds character in our children when they can learn from and see the struggles from others. The book was easy to read and quite cute, there were many instances (or accidents/disasters) in the story that at time had my son laughing hysterically. This is one of those book series that we'll be on the look out for from now on! Highly recommended!
I had my 12 yr old son read this book for review since this is at his age level. Here is his thoughts.. A funny story with a great story line. It was full of action and thought the kids were great to read about. The main character is TJ. Can't wait to read the others in this series. One of my new favorite series to purchase.
I just finished reading my second children's book to review.
Bill Myers has written many books in his career as author. Personally we have enjoyed McGee and Me the most. Recently, his book, TJ and the Time Stumblers, made it into my hands. The idea of children who are time travelers would excite most 8-9 year olds, especially boys. Most of the way, Myers does a great job of keeping the attention of the readers, yet at times it seems a little difficult to follow.
TJ and the Time Stumblers presents real life situations in a un-real way, in a word, safe. Their friendship is tested. There are high emotions at times. Conflict arises. Herby and Tuna must deal with difficulty along the way. This is real life.
Yet, as a mom who home schools and desires her children to have a Biblical World view as well be challenged, this book lacks depth. I would rather my children read about people who have lived and existed, with real life issues. Fun reading? Yes. But nothing more than that.
Maybe I just lack the ability to enjoy this type of book.
I was given a free copy of this book as a Blog Reviewer for Tyndale.
TJ and the Time Stumblers: New Kid Catastrophes, written by Bill Myers, is a book about an everyday average seventh grader just trying to survive junior high in a new school.
If it wasn't hard enough moving miles from the place she once called home, miles from the friends she knew and had grown to love, TJ now finds herself trapped, in a sense, within the hilarious musings of two time travelers who mean well, but in their actions usually find the quickest way to make her life more difficult than anyone could have hoped for.
Thomas Uriah Norman Alphonso III, AKA Tuna, and Herby are time travelers from the 23rd century who have traveled into the past to follow and observe TJ for a history project. They have chosen TJ because of what her life comes to represent within the future.
This book is beyond well written and contains the power to grasp the attention of it's readers. Those turning it's pages are sure to find humor in the shortcomings of TJ through the "help" of Tuna and Herby, thus this book is a recommended read for all adolescents.
Dr. Jeff Krupinski
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I was so excited to finally read a new book by Bill Myers! Yay! I love his Journey to Fayrah, Wally McDoogle, Blood Hounds, and McGee and Me series.
I didn't know if TJ and the Time Stumbers would be as good as his other series, but I loved it even more! Both me and my brother were, like, "Eh, it doesn't look that great." But we were hooked from page one. I don't really like the cover, so maybe that's why I didn't think I would like it so much (I know, I know. Don't judge a book by it's cover).
Every chapter started out with a time travel log done by Herby and Tuna. I really liked that and I think it added more depth (and humor!) to the story. Myers always amazes me because his books are so funny and yet they cover serious topics. By page eleven you read about TJ dealing with the death of her mom and Chad's divorced parents. It's not depressing, it's just true to life. The story also comes with hope - TJ discovers what a wonderful future she has ahead of her. Sorta like on Meet the Robinson's.
Of course, Myers had me giggling, snorting, and laughing throughout the whole book. Time travel has been done again and again, but not quite like this before!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from Tyndale House. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
I'll start right off by saying this isn't a book I'd normally read. In fact, I doubt I ever would have except for the fact I received it free from the Tyndale Blogging Network. And it wasn't really what I was expecting. T.J.'s family is starting over after the death of her mom- and for T.J. that means a new city, a new school and no friends. The kids at her new school are rich and snobbish, and T.J. unintentionally alienates them all when she accidentally makes enemies with the most popular girl and sweetheart of the school: T.V. star Hester Breakaheart. Things go from bad to worse when T.J. discovers she's being followed by two kooky teenagers from the future, who have to observe her for a history assignment. This book was strangely written. Maybe I'm just picky when it comes to grammar, but I noticed some errors in this book, mostly some verb-tense disagreements. Plotwise, there was some boy-girl stuff I didn't really appreciate. Not enough to be offensive, just annoying. Despite the book's problems, it did make me laugh out loud. Our time-traveling friends usually ended up making T.J.'s problems worse, mainly with their defective 23rd century gadgets. This book was totally wacky, unrealistic, and off-the-wall, and though I believe that's the way the book was supposed to be, in some places I felt it just didn't work for me, so that's why New Kid Catastrophes only gets a 5 out 10 quill pens.
I received this book free of charge from Tyndale. This did not affect my review in any way.