What monster? by Liz Pichon

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Tom Gates book 15. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN: 9781407179865
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: School life, Families, Music festivals. Tom and Derek stop in at the newsagents on the way to school attracted by the headline 'Angry Squirrel Throws Nuts'. Whilst trying to read the newspaper article, they stop to pat a sausage dog, chat to the nice lady owner and inform her about the secret way to sneak into school when they are late. Nothing is happenstance, the sausage dog is involved in the mysterious disappearance of classmate Marcus' lunches. There's also a rather strict new supply teacher ready to take on Tom's class when Mr. Fullerman's leaves for a special teacher conference. There's excitement at school with the announcement of the school play 'Jack and the Beanstalk.' Time to make props and audition for special roles, and Tom's pleased with to play a monster.
At home, older sister Delia's going to the sold-out Music Festival Oakchella, while poor Tom who'd love to attend, is foisted on his cousins for the weekend because Mum and Dad are also busy. There are chalk drawings in the playground, special traps to catch the food thief, excitement over play rehearsals as Tom records all his experiences, dramas and everyday life both in drawing and observations.
Tom Gates's fifteenth instalment by award-winning author Liz Pichon is another fun addition, with plenty of action at home and school. Her illustrations sketches and cartoon doodles sprawl across the pages, text and font styles change adding to the excitement of reading the narrative. Tom's running commentary on his school and home life is always humorous, his love for music and food shine through. There's a Where's Wally (Tom) drawing at the conclusion with lots of familiar characters enjoying the music festival.
The Tom Gates series is perfect for reluctant readers who enjoy stories told through visual representation.
Rhyllis Bignell