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Time Travel log:
Malibu, California, October 19
Time-travel pod still zworked. Subject is growing used to our presence. She barely groans when she sees us. Big-time improvement. Currently assisting her in studies, though she doesn't exactly appear grateful. End Transmission
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" TJ Finkelstein yelled as she dropped the book she was reading and jumped up from her desk. "HERBY!"
Now, TJ really wasn't a yeller. But when your room is suddenly filled with two dozen pirates from the 1700s (and none of them are as cute as Johnny Depp), well, that's enough to make anybody a little irritable.
Actually, it wasn't the pirates that bothered TJ as much as their
"TUNA!?" she shouted.
And even that wasn't as bad as their
cling-clang jab! cling-clang jab!
falling down all wounded on her floor.
"Great!" she cried. "How am I going to get those bloodstains out of my carpet? HERBY!"
There was still no answer, except for the
of another pirate as he swung toward her on a rope.
She screamed and dropped to the floor as he flew past, missing her by inches. Scrambling back to her feet, she searched the room—ducking this sword, dodging that saber as the pirates continued to
Once again she shouted, "TUNA! HERBY! WHERE ARE YOU?!"
Suddenly two frightened heads popped out from under her bed. The good news was the heads were still attached to their bodies. (With all the swinging swords and sabers, that was good news.) The first belonged to Herby. He had long blond bangs and was not the brightest candle on the birthday cake. (Sometimes he couldn't even find the party.) The second belonged to Tuna, who had red hair and was sort of chubby. They were both a couple years older than TJ and perfectly normal ... except for the part about them coming from the 23rd century.
The 23rd century?!
That's right. And don't worry about the shouting—that was TJ's first reaction too. It was also her second reaction and her third ... and her reaction every time she woke up in the morning to see them standing in line to use her bathroom. (Apparently even 23rd-century time travelers need to use the facilities.)
It seems she was the subject of their history project back at their school. Someday she would grow up to be a brilliant leader doing brilliant things (hard to believe, since she was still having a hard time opening her locker).
Anyway, the two boys had traveled back to her time to observe her.
The only problem was they got stuck. Their time-travel pod broke down and ran out of fuel. And until they could fix it, TJ Finkelstein had become their reluctant hostess. It wasn't bad enough that she'd just moved to California from a small town in Missouri. Or that the kids at Malibu Junior High were the richest (and snobbiest) in the world. She also had to deal with all the catastrophes created by her brain-deprived friends from the 23rd century.
"What are you doing?" she demanded.
Tuna (aka Thomas Uriah Norman Alphonso the Third) cleared his throat. "You appeared to be having some difficulty with your Treasure Island book report."
"It's due tomorrow, and I haven't had a chance to—"
"Step lively, mateys! Comin' through!"
The boys ducked back under the bed and TJ jumped aside as two pirates rolled a heavy black cannon up to her window. She could only stare in disbelief.
Herby was the first to pop back out. Flipping his bangs to the side, he explained, "We figured the coolest way to read a book is to, like, live it."
TJ glanced around. "You mean to watch it, like a movie."
Suddenly a gnarled hand reached around and covered her mouth, while another shoved an old-fashioned pistol into her side. Her eyes widened in terror as she turned to see a pirate with a wooden leg and a parrot perched on his shoulder.
"Uh, no," Tuna corrected, "we mean to actually live it."
The pirate growled, "And who might ye be, missy? Someone out to steal me treasure?"
"Pieces of eight!" the parrot squawked. "Pieces of eight!"
Of course TJ screamed: "Mmumoumrrmformmumrormf!" (Which might have sounded more like "Excuse me, I'd appreciate not dying at this particular time in my life!" if his hand weren't still over her mouth.)
"Are you saying you wish for us to stop?" Tuna asked.
TJ glared at him.
"I think we should take that as a yes," Herby said.
TJ gave a huge nod.
"Well, all right, if you're certain." Tuna pulled out a giant Swiss Army Knife (the type sold at time-travel stores everywhere). He opened the blade labeled Story Amplifier and
absolutely nothing happened. (Well, except for the cool sound.)
"Try it again, dude!" Herby shouted.
Tuna shut the blade and reopened it. Again, nothing happened, except for the still very cool
Meanwhile, one of the pirates with the cannon at the window shouted, "Stand by!"
His partner produced a giant wooden match and yelled, "Standing by!"
Only then did TJ notice that the cannon wasn't just pointing out her window. It was pointing out her window directly at her neighbor Chad Steel's bedroom!
"Nuummmermumblemuffin!" she shouted. Only this time she made her point clearer by raising her foot high in the air and stomping hard onto the pirate's one good foot.
"ARGH!" he shouted, letting her go and jumping up and down on his other foot (which, unfortunately, was not there). So, having only a peg for a foot, he did a lot more
onto the ground than jumping. And with all the ker-plop-ing came a lot more "ARGH!"-ings followed by a ton of "Bleep-bleep-bleep, bleep-bleep-bleep"-ings (which is all pirates are allowed to scream in a PG-rated book).
Meanwhile, the other two pirates were preparing to fire the cannon.
"Ready!" the first pirate shouted.
TJ raced to the window. "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!" She turned to the boys still under the bed. "Tuna! Herby! Do something!"
"As you have no doubt observed," Tuna explained, "our equipment is once again experiencing technical difficulties."
"Ready!" the second pirate echoed his partner's command as he struck the giant match. But before he could light the cannon's fuse, TJ spun around and blew it out.
He frowned. "What ye be doin' that for, missy?"
She twirled back to Tuna and Herby. "Hit it on the ground again! Hit the knife thingy on the ground!"
Once again the pirate lit a match and once again she spun around and blew it out.
"ARGH," the pirate argh-ed. (He would have thrown in a few bleeps of his own but figured his mother might be reading this book.)
Tuna called back to TJ, "I fail to see how hitting the knife upon the—"
"It's worked before!" Herby shouted at Tuna. "Give it a try."
The second pirate struck a third match, and this time blocking TJ from it, he managed to light the fuse. It started smoking and sputtering.
Tuna continued arguing with Herby. "I fail to see the logic in thwack-ing the Story Amplifier on the ground."
"Guys!" TJ shouted.
"That's how we fixed it before, dude."
"Guys!" TJ whirled back to the fuse, watching it burn toward the cannon.
"This is extremely expensive equipment," Tuna argued. "Such handling would be foolish and—"
"Aim!" the first pirate shouted.
"Aim!" the second pirate repeated as he adjusted the cannon so it would clearly destroy Chad's house.
Both men plugged their ears and closed their eyes ... which gave TJ just enough time to throw herself at the cannon and
grrr, arrrr, ugghhh ...
move it 6¼ inches before it finally
The good news was the cannonball missed Chad's house by mere inches. (Close, but when it comes to total demolition of a neighbor's house, every inch counts.)
The better news was Tuna finally agreed to
thwack, thwack, thwack
the knife on the floor until the Story Amplifier
finally shut down.
Suddenly everything in the room was back to normal. No fighting pirates, no shooting cannons. Everything was gone ... well, except for one or two parrot feathers floating to the ground and the gentle sound of
a light evening breeze blowing through the new hole in TJ's bedroom wall. The new hole that was roughly the size of a very large cannonball.
* * *
It had been a rough day for Hesper Breakahart, too. Besides the usual problems that came with being a super-rich, super-spoiled, and super-famous TV star on the Dizzy Channel, she had a terrible headache. There were three whiny reasons for her suffering:
WHINY REASON #1 The thirteen-year-old beauty queen had found a split end in her perfectly styled and perfectly blonde (because it was perfectly dyed) hair. But that catastrophe was nothing compared to WHINY REASON #2 Hesper had nearly broken a nail—which is a danger you risk when your PTB (Personal Tooth
Brusher) calls in sick and you have to brush your teeth by yourself.
But even that was small potatoes (or in Hesper's case, very small portions of caviar) when compared to
WHINY REASON #3
She was still having to talk to the common people. (Insert gasp here.) That's right, the great Hesper Breakahart, star of stage, screen, and her own ego, actually had to pretend to like her fellow students.
It had all started last week when the new girl from Memphis—or Miami or whatever that Midwest state that starts with an M is called—embarrassed her in front of the entire school. For five terrifying minutes, every student at Malibu Junior High had heard Hesper's real thoughts broadcast through the school's PA system. Now they all knew how much she loathed them. (It's not that Hesper was a snob, but when you're as big a winner as she is, it's hard to ignore how big a loser everyone else is.)
So for the last week, she'd had to go around school telling those awful, average people how much she respected them (insert second gasp here). Talk about embarrassing. Talk about humiliating. It was almost as bad as when she had to share the cover of Teen Idol with some stupid brother band that everyone was all gaga over.
But now it was
Hesper Breakahart was going to think up a plan so nasty and so evil that TB—or BLT or whatever that new girl's name was—would wish she'd never been born.
"So what will it be?" Hesper's very best friend since forever asked while sitting at Hesper's feet. (All of Hesper's subjects—er, friends—sat at her feet. Usually around the pool, working on their tans.)
"I don't know," Hesper said, drawing her perfectly plucked eyebrows into a perfectly plucked frown.
"Make her drink regular tap water?" Hesper's other very best friend since forever asked. (When you're a TV star, you've got plenty of very best friends.)
"Take away her credit cards?" another very best friend asked.
"Make it so she can't get a pedicure for a whole month?"
All the girls shuddered.
"Oh, I know; I know," the first very best friend said.
Hesper turned to her. "Yes, er, um ..."
Hesper flashed her recently whitened, glow-in-the-darkteeth smile. "Yes, of course it is. What's on your mind, um, er ..."
Elizabeth didn't need Hesper to know her name. Just letting her hang at the pool and breathe the same air was enough. "You know how weird stuff seems to be happening whenever the new kid is around?"
"Yes," another very best friend since forever said, "like the book that flew across Mr. Beaker's class when she came into the room?"
Another very best friend (I told you she had plenty) added, "Or that dodgeball that made a U-turn and hit you when she was in PE?"
"Or how 'bout when she—?"
"Please, please." Hesper held up her perfectly manicured hand. "Must we always be talking about her?"
Elizabeth frowned. "But I thought—"
"We were talking about what I was going to do to her."
"Oh, right." Elizabeth glanced down, embarrassed. If there was one thing you didn't talk about when you were around Hesper Breakahart, it was other people.
Hesper reached out an understanding hand and patted Elizabeth on the head. "That's okay, um, er, whoever you are."
Another very best friend since forever spoke up. "What if you hired a private detective?"
Hesper turned to her, waiting for more.
"You could have him find some dirt on her for you, and then you could tell everybody what you learned."
"I could?" Hesper asked. She was already liking the plan. (Well, not so much the plan as the star of the plan.) "But where would I find a detective to do that for me?"
Elizabeth's hand shot up in the air. "I could do it! I could do it!"
Immediately, Elizabeth realized her error. "That is, for you. I could do it for you so you could tell everybody what you learned."
"Hmm ..." A smile slowly crept around the corners of Hesper's all-too-perfect lips. "I like that ... what's-your-name. Yes, I like that a lot."
Excerpted from AAAARGH!!! by Bill Myers Copyright © 2011 by Bill Myers. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted August 8, 2013
AAAARGH!!!, by Bill Myers, is book #2 in the TJ and the Time Stumblers 6 book series. As in #1, The New Kid Catastrophes, these time traveling kids kept me engaged and amused. The chaos is endless, which keeps readers attention, and Bill Myers manages to sew a thread of a message throughout, without it feeling like ‘this is the moral of the story.’
The ‘lesson’ taught in this tale is the repercussions of cheating. Sometimes twisting of the truth may not seem so bad, but it catches up with you. There are always better choices, and they’re shown in amusing, yet meaningful ways.
TJ, Tuna, and Herby are fun, unforgettable characters. Although they are middle-schoolers, I feel younger kids could easily relate.
Posted August 8, 2013
(To begin, let me say that I'm over a decade out of the target audience age range, so that definitely affects my opinion of the book.)
"AAAARGH!!!" is the second book in a "juvenile" series about a modern-day junior-high student, T.J., and her from-the-future pals, Herby and Tuna. The book follows her adventures over the course of a crazy week as she deals with one catastrophe after another resulting from the chaos of having two 23rd century companions and all of their sci-fi gadgets. There is a lot of ridiculousness and humor in the book that caters to the target audience, what with pirates coming alive from books and talking animals, etc, and I'm sure that's fun for preteen readers. I found it a little obnoxious, but again, I'm an older reader than the author intends. ;-) I did find it interesting (if at times slightly annoying) how the author uses font size and shape to get his point across. That, combined with his written sound affects, would probably help the unimaginative reader to get into the story.
Overall, "AAAARGH!!!" is an interesting story and the author teaches a good lesson about the dangers and consequences of cheating, both immediate and far down the line. For that reason, and because I'm sure younger kids would love the wackiness of the story, I'm giving it 4 stars.
Posted July 20, 2013
TJ is still dealing with her new school and the two boys from the 23rd century. They offer to help with her book report, which leads to disaster.
I thought this was a cute story with a pirate theme. TJ has to make a decision about cheating at school, something children might deal with.
Posted July 8, 2013
The second book in the series TJ and the Time Stumblers, "AAAArgh!!!" focuses again on 13 year old TJ Finkelstein, who is being observed by two characters from the future (23rd century!), who have chosen her as a case-study for their history project.
In this episode, TJ's decision to use the well-meaning Tuna & Herby's book report on Treasure Island (written by Robert Louis Stevenson himself, time-ported in!) has long reaching decisions from her cheating.....will she finally do the right thing?
Meanwhile, next door neighbor Chad has his own problems, as Doug Cloudlouper is pressuring him to use his special jet-engine surfboard in the upcoming competition. Chad thinks it's like cheating, but Doug repeatedly tells him, "It's only cheating if you get caught!"
A great life lesson on consequences of cheating told in an enjoyable and non-preachy way - I recommend this book!
Posted July 1, 2013
This is the second book of the TJ and the Time Stumblers series. Like the other books in this series, the author takes readers from one catastrophe to the next and in the midst of the chaos manages to teach a lesson. In this book the lesson is cheating and overcoming the temptation to take the easy way out by cheating. TJ has a unique opportunity to see how the results of her choosing to cheat negatively impact her life so she can make better choices. For readers, they can learn that cheating might make things easier at the moment, but can have unintended consequences.
These books are all entertaining to read because of the funny experiences, dialogue, and futuristic devices used by Tuna and Herby. I also like the way Myers plays on contemporary fads and celebrities in a funny way. I would recommend this series to kids and adults who have kids. Very funny at parts with a good message!
Posted June 26, 2013
The book is crazy-over-the-top. If you like the craziness of Myer's "My Life as ..." Series, you should love this. I never got into that series, and find a similar lack of connection here. No doubt it would appeal to some children (it's intended audience) but probably not if your child is more into the classics (like I was). I did appreciate the lesson the book had about cheating. At least there is a point to the story =)
review by Ruth Sophia
Posted June 13, 2013
Very entertaining, lots of silliness. It is creative and crazy. This series is great for kids. The things that happen are just insane, and I laughed out loud. I'm an older adult but I enjoy kids’ stories. This author writes extremely well and very creatively. It is a silly fantasy world that teaches lessons, and it is very easy reading. The main characters are mostly believable, with some exaggeration, which makes a point in an amusing way. I liked it so much I bought the rest of the series.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 12, 2013
TJ Finkelstein's life is anything but ordinary. Two time travelers from the 23rd century are visiting her and cannot leave because of a problem with their time machine. They try and help her learn a lesson about being honest and not cheating in school while facing challenges with the "best" friend of the most popular girl in school.
I wanted to preview this series before I gave it to my children. I think this will be a great series for them-it will be a fun read while at the same time teaching them valuable lessons.
Posted June 4, 2013
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.
In AAAARGH!!!, TJ learns a valuable lesson about the consequences of cheating and the uncontrollable nature of lies when the guys try to help her with a book report by getting the book’s author to write it for her. The important of obedience and confession are highlighted, and the subject matter was especially appropriate for kids reading the story in a school setting. Lots of laughs and lots of wisdom.
Posted June 11, 2012
TJ Finkelstein is a seventh grader whose life turned up-side-down the day two goofball boys from the future crash landed into her life. And if that wasn’t enough TJ has a girl from school trying to prove that TJ’s an alien, another girl trying to destroy her, and a little problem with a report she cheated on.
This book was hilarious! If you’ve ever read Bill Myers My Life As… series you’ll love the TJ and the Time Stumblers series.
Posted June 9, 2012
TJ is behind in her studies, has become friends with two very unpopular kids, and all her plans are falling apart. Everyone thinks she's crazy. TJ has invisible friends from another century following her around and causing trouble everywhere!
This is a cute book, funny storyline but also teaches important lessons such as honesty. You see, TJ is cheating on a book report and it's not a big deal to her.
Funny book. Highly recommended for kids of all ages! I give it 5 of 5 stars.
Posted August 1, 2011
AAAARGH!!! is funny! I love the book! It's great for all ages and everyone will get a laugh out of it. I love the plot, the characters are fully described, and the book is written in an extraordinary way! The perfect read for kids and adults. I recommend it to all!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 21, 2011
TJ Finkelstein is back, this time with even more adventure and even more catastrophes.
In Aaaargh!!!, the second book in Bill Myers TJ and the Time Stumblers series, Jr. High still isn't going quite as TJ planned. She's behind in her studies, she's friends with the two most un-popular kids in school, and the school's most popular girl is trying to destroy her. Oh, and besides that everyone seems to think she's crazy (Which totally isn't true. She's just trying to deal with having two invisible guys from the 23rd-century following her around all the time).
Of course, having friends from the 23rd-century isn't always the most pleasant thing in the world. The ever helpful Herby and Tuna are once again causing mayhem wherever they go, while they try to help TJ with her latest book report. Naturally, by help I mean transporting pirates and talking parrots right off the pages of Treasure Island. Needless to say, having pirates randomly popping up in your room and at school isn't exactly a good thing, especially when they're brandishing swords and firing cannons.
Nevertheless, as TJ muddles through this newest disaster she once again learns an important lesson; this time about the choices she makes and how they affect not only her, but the people around her.
I have to say, this book was absolutely wonderful. It definitely made me laugh, with the general all-around craziness going on (and the equally crazy characters), but I loved how it also had an important message in it about doing the right thing. If you have a tween kid I would absolutely recommend that they read this book.