The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates
Author(s)
Age Range
10+
Release Date
August 26, 2014
ISBN
9780763674724
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Meet Tom Gates. When his teachers don’t have their beady eyes on him, he likes to draw pictures and write about stuff, like last summer’s worst camping vacation ever (five merits!), or how much he hates sitting next to nosy Marcus Meldrew, the most annoying boy at school. All Tom really wants is to score tickets to see the best band ever, Dude3, when they come to town, and to impress Amy Porter, who is very nice and smart (but is currently ignoring him). Tom’s teachers think he is easily distracted and "lacks focus," but that’s a bit harsh — can he help it if his grumpy big sister, Delia, made him late for school (again), or that last night’s homework had to be sacrificed to stave off a vicious dog attack? Master of excuses, creative storyteller, and middle-school comedian extraordinaire, Tom Gates is guaranteed to get kids turning the pages — and keep them laughing.

Editor review

1 review
British Wimpy Kid
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
4.0
Tom is in year five, and would rather draw or read comics in class than pay attention to his teacher, Mr. Fullerman, which would explain why he gets put in the very front of the classroom! Tom does occasionally pay attention, but he is a past master at forging notes from home and making up elaborate excuses for why he isn't turning things in. He is also very embarrassed by his father, who does freelance work from a shed in their yard and occasionally shows up at school in his gardening clothes, and also by the "fossils": his grandparents, who serve very odd food (like banana on pizza). His older sister, Delia, is easy to annoy, and Tom does so at every chance. The big thing going on in Tom's world is a concert by his favorite band, Dude3, which he manages to talk his father into attending with him. Tom's own band, the Dogzombies, also have an opportunity to perform at a school concert, but both concerts end up being hysterically problematic. This is the first volume of a seven book British series being released in the US for the first time.

Notebook novels are always popular, and this one has pleasing graphics that are somewhat reminiscent of Schoolhouse Rock. Tom is well meaning about most of his escapades, except those involving his sister, and the inclusion of typically British phrases and obsessions (Caramel wafer, anyone?) add a new twist to this type of book. A glossary is included at the back so that readers can learn that they don't want to talk about wearing "pants" out in public if they are in the UK!
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