Review Blog

Jun 27 2013

Tom Gates is absolutely fantastic (at some things) by Liz Pichon

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Scholastic Children's, 2013. ISBN 9781407134512. 249 p.
(Age: 8-11 ) Highly recommended. Diary stories. Family life. School stories. Boys. Brothers and sisters. Winner: Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2011, Blue Peter Book Award for Best Story. Tom Gates' diary is filled with doodles, illustrations, hidden monsters and a running commentary about school and home life. Tom has an intense dislike of his teacher Mr. Fullerman, as well as one of his classmates Marcus Meldrew and his rather mean older sister Delia. He spends most of his time at school drawing in his notebook, sketching and wickedly commenting on his class dramas. This time Tom's class is off on a camping trip and he hands in his signed form at the last minute. Even a trip to the supermarket with his Mum is a comedy, when the giant packet of toilet paper splits and he has to chase two rolls across the floor of the checkouts, landing in front of his secret crush, Amy.
At the Activity Centre, there are lots of laughs as Tom deals with his mother's hidden notes, Marcus Meldrew's annoying behaviour and his bunkmate's sleep talking. Nothing in Tom's life is dull or boring and he always finds trouble wherever he goes.
The text in this story includes handwriting, bubble writing, emphasized words, block writing and words made out of patterns; this makes it look handwritten. Liz Pichon's creative bold pen drawings and doodles complement the text style. This is another in the exciting series of Tom Gates books and I would highly recommend it for a reading audience from 8-11.
Rhyllis Bignell

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