Tom Gates: Extra Special Treats (Not) (Tom Gates #6)
April 22, 2019
Tom’s hoping to be made a Star Pupil at school, but that means he needs to put more effort into his homework than his doodles. Easier said than done! Meanwhile, his grandparents (the Fossils) are about to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and Uncle Kevin wants to plan something special. Then the cold weather turns to snow and school gets canceled, leaving Tom is snowed in at home with quite the crew, including his especially grumpy sister, Delia; his cousins, and his annoying classmate, Marcus Meldrew. Aren’t snow days supposed to be fun?
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I have always been a sucker for a book with a good snowstorm, from Haywood's Snowbound with Betsy (1963) to Kinney's Cabin Fever (2010). While I am not impressed with the British snowfall (it seems like just a couple of inches knocks out power supplies; it's not the three feet of snow that, say, Buffalo, New York is apt to get), the resultant family togetherness is just as much fun.
Of all the characters, I think that Granny Mavis is my favorite. Her sundae-inspired sweaters, complete with cherries atop the hats, are beyond awesome, and her peaches and pasta and cornflakes and chicken are the sort of quirky, passive-aggressive subterfuge that should get one excused from all further cooking duties! Give me a souped up golf cart to drive back and forth from the Leafy Green Old Folks Home, and I'd be glad to party with The Fossils as well!
Tom would be a good companion to Peirce's Big Nate; they are both well meaning but misguided boys with a boundless enthusiasm for what they hold dear. These notebook novels are the homemade apple pie with whole wheat crust of children's literature; books that are sweet and satisfying while still being nutritious enough to be served occasionally, even for breakfast.
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