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Tom Gates: Excellent Excuses (and Other Good Stuff)

Reviewed by Administrator on March 02, 2017.
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Meet Tom Gates, average guy..not your ace student.  It's spring break  and he has two grand, glorious weeks away from homework and from school.  Life is going to be great.  Until the letter arrives:

"Dear Mr. and Mrs. Gates,

I do hope Tom has recovered from the vicious dog that attacked him on the last day of term as he walked to school.  What luck that he had his school book to defend himself with."

Tom watches the great spring break fly out the window.  He now has two weeks to redo his Review Homework which means he has to write a review of a book or a film.  Life is going down fast.  

To add to his burden, he has an annoying older sister, he's being forced to join the school band, he has a terrible toothache, he's got problems with his own band, the Dogzombies and now there's a school field trip coming up.

Filled with highly entertaining doodles, this is perfect for the younger readers of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

 

978-0763687809   Ages 8-12   360 pages

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge, abookandahug.com

Read alikes:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid; Timmy Failure series

********

Gr 4–6—Tom Gates, a British lad in year five, can't wait for his two-week holiday from school. He and his best mate, Derek, have some grand plans: doing nothing; having sleepovers; practicing being rock stars in their band, Dogzombies; annoying Tom's snarky older sister, Delia; and watching lots of television. Unfortunately, a letter home from Tom's teacher Mr. Fullerman puts the brakes on the fun. Mr. Fullerman may or may not have fallen for Tom's "attacked by a vicious dog on the way to school" excuse regarding his missing homework. His mother insists that the homework be completed before anything else and throws in the demand for a clean room to boot. Faced with this task, Tom draws a total blank and ends up drawing cobwebs in his notebook instead. Hilariously unreflective and self-absorbed, Tom aspires to avoid schoolwork at all costs and become a rock star, even though he hasn't mastered the music part and his band lacks a drummer. Tom and Greg Heffley are kindred spirits, and Tom's notebook, filled with frenetic, free-wheeling attempts to avoid homework, responsibility, Marcus Melgrew, his uncle, and all things remotely unpleasant, should entertain, if not resonate. This is not the first in the series, but readers will have no problem jumping into the story. Many terms have been Americanized, such as Mom instead of Mum, but those Briticisms that were not, such as bodged or bogey, are explained in a short glossary at the end of the book. VERDICT Middle grade readers looking for more books with "Wimpy-appeal" should find a lot to enjoy in this UK import.—Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

*******

From Candlewick Press:

Middle-school comedian, homework dodger, rock-star wannabe, master doodler—Tom Gates is back with two more episodes full of visual humor and kid appeal.

No school for two whole weeks! Now Tom has plenty of time for the good stuff, like finding new ways (so many!) to annoy his big sister, Delia. Or watching TV and eating caramel candy. Or most important, band practice for DOGZOMBIES in his best friend Derek’s garage (while not encouraging Derek’s ’60s-music-crazed dad). All that stands between this band and rock greatness is, well, a song (besides "Delia’s a Weirdo"). And finding a drummer. And landing a gig. Will Tom let a killer toothache and pesky overdue homework get in his way?

 

Other books in the series: The Brilliant World of Tom Gates: Tom Gates Everything's Amazing Sort Of; Yes No (Maybe) Tom Gates; Genius Ideas (Mostly) Tom Gates; Tom Gates Extra Special Treats; Tom Gates Super Good Skills (Almost); A Tiny Bit Lucky Tom Gates; DogZombies Rule (For Now); Top of the Class Tom Gates

 
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