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TIME TRAVEL LOG: Malibu, California, November 2
All-school bully from the future stopped by. Despite his disguise, Tuna and I are positive it's Bruce Bruiseabone, winner of the Worst Breath in the World Contest. We fear he could really zwork things up for our subject (who, by the way, is still smoot to the max). End Transmission
Thelma Jean Finkelstein, better known as TJ to her friends (all four of them—unless you leave out her goldfish and pet hamster, which brings it down to two friends), ran through the empty cafeteria, screaming her lungs out.
And when she wasn't
she was yelling,
"Why is he chasing us? Why is he chasing us?!"
Now, you might call her behavior a little weird (which may be why she has only two friends). But weirder than that weirdness is that the HE in her little screamfest just happened to be an African elephant the size of a Chevy pickup who, unlike a Chevy pickup, had some very bad breath.
Weirder than that weirdness was that the African elephant (complete with large tusks and a crummy mood) was shouting in a very bad British accent,
"Excuse me, miss. If you don't mind, I should like to speak with you a moment!"
Weirder than that weird weirdness was the US TJ happened to be screaming about. And who, exactly, was the US?
Actually, they were nobody. (Unless you counted the two invisible teenagers from the 23rd century who were running beside her.)
First, there was Thomas Uriah Norman Alphonso the Third. Or for those who don't enjoy spraining their tongues, Tuna. On TJ's other side ran Herby, a tall surfer dude with long blond bangs and the exact same number of brain cells as TJ had friends (after you subtract the goldfish and hamster).
The boys had traveled back in time to do a history report on TJ because, believe it or not, someday when she was through screaming her lungs out and being chased by African elephants through school cafeterias, TJ would become a great world leader.
But until then, she had other things on her mind like
Get us out of here! Get us out of here!"
"No worries, Your Dude-ness," Herby shouted. "I'll transport us home!" With that he pulled out his trusty Swiss Army Knife (sold at 23rd-century time-travel stores everywhere), opened its Transporter Beam Blade, and
The good news was Herby transported them out of the cafeteria.
The bad news was he missed TJ's house (unless she had moved to the top of Mount Everest).
The top of Mount Everest! you say?
Yeah, that's what TJ was saying too. Only more like
"THE TOP OF MOUNT EVEREST!"
"How odd!" Tuna yelled over the howling wind.
"That we're on Mount Everest?" Herby shouted. "Or that the elephant is still behind us?"
"Actually, I'm talking about the end of the giant glacier we're approaching."
"What end?" Herby shouted. "What glacier?"
"The end we've just reached and the glacier we are now jumping
O F F F F F F ! ! !"
Wanting to be part of the conversation, TJ threw in her own comment—the always clever and very appropriate
"A H H H H H H ! ! !"
And refusing to be left out, the elephant, who was falling beside them, added,
b e l i e v e
t h i s
m a y
h u r t
b i t !"
But thanks to Herby's great thinking (and accidental good luck), he tried the Transporter Beam Blade again and
instead of hitting the ground, they
back to school and were running down the hallway toward the auditorium.
That was the good news. But as you may recall, every time TJ gets a little good news, she gets a ton of bad. In this case, it came in the form of one African elephant (whose breath had not improved) who was still running after them. And (since we're having a two-for-one special in TJ's bad luck department) there was the added problem of Hesper Breakahart, star of her own TV series on the Dizzy Channel (and the richest, most gorgeous, most spoiled 13-year-old in the entire civilized world—and maybe Texas, too). At the moment she was inside that very auditorium holding auditions for her TV show.
* * *
"Now remember, kiddies," the TV director with a bad hairpiece said to nearly a hundred girls sitting in the auditorium, "we're looking for somebody to play Hesper's younger sister. It's going to be tough. You might have to memorize lines, remember where to move, and—" he lowered his voice—"the people in wardrobe may even want you to wear glasses."
All the wannabe actresses shuddered. "Eeew ..."
"I know; I know," the director agreed. "Acting can be brutal. But it's the price one pays for stardom. Isn't that right, Ms. Breakahart?"
"That's right," Hesper said, flashing her perfect, glow-in-the-dark, bleach-toothed smile.
All the girls grinned, flashing their own perfect, glow-in-the-dark smiles. (Malibu Junior High girls have a thing about perfect, glow-in-the-dark smiles. They also have a thing about perfect skin, perfect tans, and perfect anything else their rich mommies and daddies can afford.)
The director turned to Hesper. "So, Ms. Breakahart, who would you like to audition first?"
Every little-sister hopeful's hand shot up like they all had to go to the bathroom.
"Oh! Oh! Oh!"
"Please Please! Please"
"Me! Me! Me!"
Chad Steel glanced up from the homework he was doing at the back of the auditorium. Earlier, Hesper had asked him to swing by and give her some emotional support. It seemed Hesper always needed his emotional support. And since they were supposed to be "a couple" and since Chad was the nicest guy in school, he helped her out when he could.
At the moment "helping out" meant watching Hesper audition her fellow students for a tiny part in her TV series. Lately, she'd been making so many enemies (courtesy of the New Kid) that Hesper figured this would be a great way to play kissy-kissy to everyone.
And it seemed to be working.
Even Miss Grumpaton, their fossilized English teacher, was there. "I could play her slightly older sister," she said. (I guess even old people have fantasies.)
But Mr. Beaker, the science teacher, had definitely gone too far. Honestly, who did the guy think he was fooling by wearing that wig and miniskirt?
The point is, everyone wanted to be a star. Which meant they were all slaves to Hesper Breakahart's slightest whim.
"Let's see," Hesper said, tossing her perfect blonde hair held in place by 41/2 cans of hair spray (and one full-time hairstylist). "How about ... you!"
"Me?" A shorter version of Hesper leaped to her feet. "Really? Really, really?!"
"Yes, uh ... what is your name?"
"You know, Elizabeth Mindlessfan. I've been your best friend since forever?"
"Oh yes, of course. Well, go up on the stage, uh ... um ..."
"Elizabeth," Elizabeth said.
"Right. Go up there and read the lines."
"Oh, goody," Elizabeth squealed as she raced to the stage and took her place. "Goody, goody, goody!"
"Are you ready?" the director asked.
"Oh yes! Absolutely, yes, yes, yes!"
"All right, then," the director said. "And ... action!"
Elizabeth looked down at the script in her hands and read, "Oh, Hesper, you're so beautiful and talented and beautiful and rich and did I mention beautiful?" (If you'd guessed Hesper helped write the script, you'd have guessed right.) "I hope that someday I'll grow up to be just as beautiful and talented and beautiful and rich and—did I mention beautiful?—as you."
"And cut!" the director shouted. "That was wonderful, babe. You're a natural."
"Really?" Elizabeth squealed in delight.
"You bet," he said. "You were magic."
"Goody, goody, goody!"
Chad looked down, shaking his head. It was amazing how crazy people got when they thought they could be on TV. He was about to return to his work when the auditorium door suddenly flew open and
one very loud and very frightened New Kid ran in.
To be honest, Chad wasn't entirely surprised. It seemed the New Kid was always doing unusual things—which in a strange way he found kinda cute. Not that he had a thing for escaped mental patients, but ever since she moved in next door to him, there'd been something about her he found ... interesting.
And this was the perfect example. Because not only was she running down the aisle toward the front exit yelling,
"Why is he still chasing us? Why is he still chasing us?!"
but as far as Chad could tell, there was no US being chased. It was just the New Kid. But even more interesting was the fact that she was being chased down the aisle by an African elephant.
Naturally, everyone screamed and panicked. And those girls who had been raising their hands like they had to go to the bathroom? Well, this time it was for real (and it might have been too late).
Without thinking, Chad leaped to his feet and ran toward the New Kid and her peanut-eating pet. He wasn't sure why. Maybe he thought even mental patients deserved protection from runaway elephants. Whatever the reason, he'd read that the best way to handle wild animals was to stand up to them and not be afraid. This would explain his running down the aisle, waving his arms, and screaming like a madman. Either that or he'd caught whatever mental disorder the New Kid had.
Still, it did not explain why the elephant stopped, turned on its heels (or paws or whatever elephants turn on), and said in a very poor English accent, "Excuse me. You needn't be rude."
Chad's jaw dropped—either because the elephant spoke or because Chad had never been accused of being rude. (Though if he'd really wanted to be mean, he could have said something about the animal's breath.)
In any case, the elephant continued speaking.
"I merely wish to warn the young lady about the DANGERS of allowing these two invisible boys floating beside—"
He would have said more, but he was interrupted by the New Kid screaming,
"Herby! Tuna! Do someth—"
And she would have said more, except it's hard saying more when you suddenly
Instantly, everything was back to normal—well, except for those girls racing to the bathroom ... and the lingering bad breath of an African elephant who had just vanished from everyone's sight.
Excerpted from Oops! 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 28, 2013
This is the third book in T.J. and the Time Stumblers. T.J. still has Herby and Tuna hanging around and making her life interesting and helping her learn that she not only needs to be careful with her words, she also needs to be careful with her thoughts. While the book might seem a little odd to an adult while reading it will be perfect for an older child.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 8, 2013
Oops!, by Bill Myers, is book #3 in the TJ and the Time Stumblers 6 book series. Once again, TJ and her friends, Tuna and Herby, delve into chaotic times. The story is so creative, over the top and silly. The fonts (some large – to emphasize emotion) are fun and make this series unique.
The lesson taught in this tale (there is a moral to each book) is to watch your tongue. It’s easy to slip into negativity, and it can be hurtful to others when you say not-so-nice-things about them. If you think nice things, that’s what will come out of you. (Matthew 15:18, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”)
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.)
"Oops!" is the third book in a "juvenile" series about a modern-day junior-high student, T.J., and her from-the-future pals, Herby and Tuna. This book chronicles her adventures over the course of a crazy, action-packed 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. A lot of the craziness in "Oops!" results from a futuristic invention that makes thoughts audible, which is obviously disastrous, if not as funny as the author intended. I found it a little obnoxious, but again, I'm an older reader than the author intends. ;-) Like the other books in the series, the author uses font size and shape changes along with written sound effects to bring the story to life, which is amusing.
"Oops!" teaches the importance of not only being careful of what we say, but also of what we think, a great Biblical truth, as Matthew 12:34 says, "For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks." Definitely a great lesson for readers of all ages, but how great to learn it while still young? However, I did not appreciate the plethora of boyfriend/girlfriend stuff and some of the "he's hot" or "she's a babe" lingo in the book especially since the main characters are like 12 and 13. So, for that reason I'm going back to down to 3 stars for this book (I gave the previous one in the series 4).
Posted July 30, 2013
Posted July 27, 2013
TJ is still dealing with the 2 guys from the 23rd century. They continue to make a mess of things. After several mishaps, TJ learns that she should not say mean things about others, even if she doesn't like them.
I thought this book was good, and just as silly as the previous books in the series. A good lesson about kindness was taught in the story.
Posted July 16, 2013
Over the top
This book is so over the top - beyond what happened previously. Not that the book doesn't make good points about valuable lessons, but maybe it would be good for TJ to have to live with the consequences of her actions instead of getting a do-over thanks to 23rd century technology. Of course, that would make for a really awkward life, in this instance.
Posted July 9, 2013
This is our third book in the 'TJ and the Time Stumblers' series. "Oops!" focuses again on our heroine, 13 year old TJ Finkelstein. TJ is still being observed by Tuna & Herby, two characters from the future (23rd century!), who have chosen her as a case-study for their history project. Eventually, TJ will become a great world leader, but at the moment she is facing some life and character decisions.
In this book, TJ gets a part on her fake frenemy Hesper Breakahart's TV show, and struggles to understand that underneath it all, Hesper just might be a real person who is extremely insecure. (Knowing people's thoughts is soooo inconvenient sometimes!!)
This book teaches a great lesson on how your thoughts can become your actions.....
Posted July 1, 2013
This is book three in the TJ and the Time Stumblers series. I think this series has great appeal for kids because of the silly dialogue, malfunctioning machines, and general chaos. In the midst of all the catastrophes, Myers manages to convey a different message in each book. In this book, the message is to say nice things about others. TJ learns that it is easier to say only nice things about others by only thinking nice things about others. This stems from viewing others as a unique and special creation of God.
I recommend this series of books to kids and adults who have kids. It is light-hearted and funny with a valuable message!
Posted June 13, 2013
Good, clean fun. I like the creativity and the humor. These books are very entertaining. This is a really fun series with an unusual concept and likeable bumbling time travellers. The author writes extremely well and makes me laugh. The books have imagination, action, and futuristic technology that malfunctions frequently. In this episode, I love the touching scene with TJ and her dad. The characters make a point in an amusing way for young readers.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 7, 2013
Posted June 4, 2013
In Oops!, one of Herby and Tuna’s whacky, broken gadgets reveals anyone’s opinion about other people and starts to turn TJ’s cruel or judgmental thoughts into realities. TJ learns the lesson that all of God’s creations need to be loved, no matter how mean he or she might be to others. The “cutest boy in school,” Chad Steel, begins to feature more heavily in this book, so those sensitive to “crush” and “boy/girl” language should take note.
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.
Posted July 16, 2012
Oops! the third book in the TJ and the Time Stumblers series brings more of TJs side splitting antics. Definitely a must read for those who have read the first two books. Bill Myers has out done himself once again.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 28, 2012
In my opinion this was a cute and simple book – but in the opinion of my non-reading 11-year-old, this book was AWESOME! Even my teen enjoyed it.
We both agreed that it was fun and a definite Christian read that will enhance even the most reluctant reader’s bookshelf.
This was the third book in the series and I picked it up and enjoyed it without confusion – though I will be buying more.
This book received an A+ from me because it’s the first book my son has finished with more than 100 pages… Except for the Wimpy Kid series.
Posted October 12, 2011
Oops! (TJ and the Time Stumblers Series) by Bill Myers Time travel is a fun theme for a kids book. "Oops!" is a book that takes that theme and adds a few twists. Aimed at young readers, the main character, T.J. Finkelstein finds herself in strange situations because of two blundering 23rd-century time travelers that wreak havoc on her life. Whether it's African elephants in school or bad thoughts that become reality. T.J. has her hands full trying to keep her sanity in the midst of it all. I haven't read this type of book since I was a child. Perhaps it was because this was the 3rd in a series, or because of my age, but I had a difficult time understanding what was going on. It was confusing to follow and silly to my rather (er) mature mind. I asked my son to read it and tell me what he thought. It was a little young for him but I figured he might have a better idea if young children would enjoy it. He said that it would probably be okay for tweeners especially if they were reading the series. Personally I wouldn't recommend it, but then I like books with clear plot lines. With my son's input I would give it 2 stars. ** Tyndale House Publishers provides me with complimentary copies of their books in exchange for unbiased reviews.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.