Cover image for What's wrong with Timmy?
What's wrong with Timmy?
Shriver, Maria.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, 2001.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 20 cm
Making friends with a mentally retarded boy helps Kate learn that the two of them have a lot in common.
Reading Level:
570 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.1 0.5 57776.

Reading Counts RC K-2 3.3 2 Quiz: 32445 Guided reading level: M.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

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What is the response when a child points out that a disabled child or adult looks 'different'? Shriver tells the story of Kate, who finds that making friends with a mentally retarded boy helps her learn that the two of them have a lot in common.

Author Notes

Maria Shriver was born Maria Owings Shriver on November 6. 1955, in Chicago. She is the second child of the politician Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. She is also the niece of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

She is a journalist who received a Peabody Award and co-anchored the NBC Emmy winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. She also won two Emmy Awards as executive producer of "The Alzheimer's Project". This special also earned her an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Award for developing a television show with a conscience.

Maria Shriver earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree in American Studies from Gerogetown University in 1977. She wanted to focus on writing with her book, "Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out into the Real World". She discovered her passion for broadcast journalism while working on her father's vice presidential campaign and sitting with the press corps. She moved on to co-anchor the CBS Morning News with Forest Sawyer. She also began contributing to other news shows such as Dateline NBC.

With her marriage to Arnold Schwarzenegger, she became the First Lady of California in 2003, when he was elected governor. Maria Shriver is a strong advocate for Special Olympics and sits on their Interantional Board. Her book title's include: What's Wrong with Timmy?, What's Happening to Grandpa?, And One More Thing Before You Go . . ., and I've Been Thinking. . . Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-8. Shriver, whose family started the Special Olympics, introduces children to the subject of mental retardation. The overly long text begins with eight-year-old Kate noticing a boy who looks "different." Timmy's mother is a friend of Kate's mom, which provides the opportunity for Kate to talk to Timmy. At first, she's afraid and nervous, but soon the two kids are chatting about school and sports, and Timmy confesses that kids call him "slow and dumb." When several of Kate's friends come over and stare, she informs them that Timmy is her new friend. Later, she ponders why God makes life so hard for people, how Timmy's parents feel about having a child like Timmy, how it feels to be made fun of. This is the best part of the book. It offers kids a chance to think for themselves and helps balance the didactic parts of the text and the stiff dialogue. The effective, gauzy chalk artwork also adds a softening note. Because of Shriver's name, this will get a lot of publicity, but more kid-friendly books include Nan Gregory's How Smudge Came to Town (1999) and Alden Carter's Big Brother Dustin (1997). A resource list is appended. --Ilene Cooper

Publisher's Weekly Review

Young Kate (now eight years old) and her mother, who first appeared in What's Heaven? return in this companion volume as Kate questions her mother about Timmy, a boy at the park who is mentally disabled and looks and acts differently from the other kids. Once again, journalist Shriver uses the narrative to model a difficult conversation between parent and child. In a calm tone Kate's mother delivers information, insight rooted in her Christian faith ("We all have to realize that God loves us just as we are") and anecdotes about children with disabilities and why it's "so important to treat Timmy like any other kid." Kate's uneasiness and curiosity allayed, she begins to build a friendship with Timmy and subtly invites her other pals to be equally accepting of him. Shriver's message perhaps a natural choice considering her family's founding and support of the Special Olympics is to be lauded. But the dense text, delivered with a heavier hand than its predecessor, never quite achieves the connection with the reader needed to make an impact. Speidel's hazy, soft-edged pastels suggest a spiritual quality and universality that match the book's theme. Ages 4-8. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-5-This brief book tells of the meeting in the park between an eight-year-old girl and the "mentally retarded" son of her mother's friend. The writer describes Timmy as someone who "looked different" and has a face that seems "flatter" than other children's. Kate asks her mother about the boy and learns that he is her age and was born with disabilities. The children discover that they like the same things at school, recess and sports, and don't like math. After a game of basketball with her friends, Timmy and Kate make a play date. The warm pastel illustrations support the theme of acceptance of all people no matter their differences. However, the little girl's questions and actions are quite mature for her age. The lack of paragraphs might be a bit confusing to young readers, and the intermittent use of bold-faced, larger-sized type is a bit disruptive, although its purpose seems to be to highlight the theme. The book reads well, though, and would be a good introduction for youngsters welcoming a disabled child into their school or neighborhood.-Margaret C. Howell, West Springfield Elementary School, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.