Review Blog

Nov 23 2017

Tom Gates: Epic Adventure (kind of) by Liz Pichon

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Tom Gates book 13. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781742768779
(Age: 7-11) Recommended. Themes: Families. Grandparents. School life. Liz Pichon's extremely popular Tom Gates returns with another humorous diary, exploring the difficulties of his school and family life. Granny Pet and Granddad Joe - Mum's parents have just returned from their world travels after seven years. The Wrinklies as Tom calls them, have mastered yoga in India, can converse in four languages and have surprise gifts for their grandchildren. Granny Pet gives Tom a fabulous digital watch with animal noises for the alarms. This is just perfect for scaring his sister Delia and making inappropriate noises at school.
School for Tom continues to be a series of problems, awkward situations and embarrassing moments. Why hasn't he received an invitation to Julia Morton's birthday party, everyone else has? There is his failed spelling test, even after study club and the embarrassment of long hair, even his teacher comments on his need for a haircut. Of course, he ends up going to Hairtastic where Granny Mavis has her hair done. The stylist snips away until poor Tom ends with a super short cut and has a photo of his new hairdo displayed in the window.
Julia's party at the boating lake is a series of comic events. Marcus and Tom haphazardly paddle around the lake on a beakless bird boat (more like a giant worm), and become stranded on a small island attacked by hungry birds. After lunch Tom is last to hold the petting zoo animals, no fluffy rabbits for him, just a smelly armadillo! Of course, nothing is ever straightforward and his life often seems unfair. The family outing to Crambly Castle proves to be a day filled with expensive disasters and Tom returns too late to attend the school disco.
Liz Pichon's Tom Gates series is perfect for reluctant readers who enjoy stories told through visual presentations, cartoons, doodles and sketches. The minimal text is presented in a variety of formats, styles and sizes, handwriting, bubble writing, emphasized words, block writing and words made out of patterns.
Tom Gates: Epic Adventure (kind of) is another fun addition to the popular Tom Gates books, recommended for a readers from 8-11.
Rhyllis Bignell

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