Tom Gates: Extra Special Treats (Not) (Tom Gates #6)

Tom Gates: Extra Special Treats (Not) (Tom Gates #6)
Age Range
Release Date
April 22, 2019
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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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Snowbound with Tom
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Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
When Marcus Meldrew gets a Star Pupil Badge, Tom decides that he will try to mend his ways and earn one himself, since students sporting the badge get preferential treatment from teachers. This gets off to a rocky start, since Tom rarely has his textbook or extra papers, and he has a tendency to doodle unflattering pictures of Mr. Fullerman. That's okay; winter is closing in, and soon school is canceled. Tom looks forward to spending time at home, locating his mother's secret stashes of chocolate covered raisins, but his uncle, aunt and cousins descend to plan The Fossil's fiftieth wedding anniversary party and end up staying because their heat is out. The posh family isn't keen on roughing it, although Tom notices that his cousins don't turn up their nose at the snacks provided! At least the family has time to plan an epic anniversary party and gift, and grandma gets the opportunity to knit lots of wooly garments to mail to the family. There's some snow sculpting and outside activity, some DogZombie band practice, and as always, caramel wafers and grandma's sketchy cooking!
Good Points
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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