Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon

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Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon

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Buy Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: Us? Helping out completing a well-known franchise title? Either the plot is too thin on the ground, or the character is getting so well-worn we needed to feel more connected to him. Such activities didn't disguise the flaws here.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 240 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Scholastic
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781407157856

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Oh, the quandaries of being a schoolchild. What's worse – staying at school, and seeing the teacher be moody right up to the last bell of term, or having school breaks ruined by holidaying with your parents, and the sister you hate? Tom's adventure here is half and half – half at school, half at the holiday home from hell. Can the problems life continues to put on his shoulders be rescued by cheesy feet-flavoured crisp snacks, sticky-backed office notes, or perhaps a secret truth about his sister?

I also think this book is half and half as regards whether I'll be back for another. Last time was certainly a return to form for me – the plot folded several things together and it was all worked out very nicely, with both Tom's character and the dramas he faced strong. Here everything has an inconsequential feel – the band worry about snacks to have at practice, then after pages of that, the rehearsal just passes us all by. The 'twist' about the holiday can be predicted before it even starts. And things have happened to this book that have made me more convinced than ever that the end is nigh.

Yes, this book includes DIY sections. Now being a dabbler in selling second-hand books I have seen several copies of these many Tom Gates volumes already that have been inked over, coloured in and more. This edition offers up well over three dozen pages where it's encouraged – you can complete Tom's doodles, add captions to his teacher characters, or make up lists and japes of your own. And as it's all pretty much unnecessary, I do have to wonder if it isn't a way to get a thinly-plotted book to look fatter on the shelf.

This isn't the full-on fill-in that some franchises offer, such as Big Nate: Laugh-O-Rama (Big Nate Activity Book 4) by Lincoln Peirce, which might be the best example and closest equivalent to what might have happened here. But it doesn't help disguise the fact that the book has dropped off again in terms of excitement, quality, and depth. This follows the well-established (in my household, at least) rule that as series like this develop, so each book covers a smaller and smaller timeline, so as to go into closer detail and not age the character too much, and it follows it to such an extent I wondered if it would even cover a whole week at one point. Flashbacks to wacky adventures with lychees (don't ask) don't add much. The whole thing seems to have had a 'you had to have been there' feel to find the proceedings funny; I certainly didn't find Tom as engaging as he has been before. Even with the connection and ownership allowed the reader by joining in with Tom and decorating the pages legitimately, it won't enamour his fans to this volume in the series.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

The World's Worst Children by David Walliams and Tony Ross is flying off the shelves for this age range, and for a reason.

Liz Pichon's Tom Gates Books in Chronological Order

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Buy Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon at Amazon.com.

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