Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (Tom Gates) by Liz Pichon

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Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (Tom Gates) by Liz Pichon

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Buy Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (Tom Gates) by Liz Pichon at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: The twelfth book in the Tom Gates series covers a few days as Tom creates a family tree and a history of his family. A treat for boys (particularly) in the 7 - 10 age group.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 227 Date: May 2017
Publisher: Scholastic
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1407168111

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Tom Gates has got a problem: his shoes are making a noise. They sort of rasp when he walks, only he can't recreate the sound at home. At school it's a different matter: not only is the noise very loud, there are those of his classmates who suggest that it has originated from somewhere a little more, well, intimate. All in all it's not a good start to the day for Tom, particularly when he realises that he's also forgotten his baby photo for the latest school project. Class 5F are building their family trees and they've got to interview family members to get stories of their lives for the project.

Of course, nothing's ever simple with Tom Gates, no matter how hard he almost tries. He's a good-hearted lad who thinks kindly about people, other than his annoying sister Delia, but that, of course, is allowed and even expected. His project turns out to be a masterpiece of history which should never have been told and misunderstanding, but it's going to have the target audience in stitches and there'll be a few adults hiding sniggers too.

In all honesty the story is very slight, but it's a delightful mixture of Tom's story and his doodles, which really are extraordinarily good for a boy of his age particularly when he would have you believe that his only real hobby is eating snacks. The book is going to appeal mainly to boys who've not yet made it to double figures, although the presence of Amy Poster does give some interest for girls. The more thoughtful child who likes some depth to their reading will find the story a little lightweight (but they'll probably still read it and laugh... if only the once) but it's main appeal is going to be the reluctant reader.

There's only a limited amount of text on any page; sometimes it amounts only to a sentence or two, but there are plenty of doodles to keep the interest level high. The vocabulary is only mildly challenging and even then the drawings are going to give more than enough clues if help is needed. I usually like to see reasonably short chapters in books for reluctant readers so that they quickly get the kudos of having a chapter of reading under their belt, but here there's little in the way of breaks - but there's a lot to keep the pages turning.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If you'd like to start at the beginning of the series, you'll find it here, although all the books read perfectly well as standalones and despite the fact that it's six years since the first book was published, Tom is still in year five.

Buy Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (Tom Gates) by Liz Pichon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (Tom Gates) by Liz Pichon at Amazon.co.uk


Buy Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (Tom Gates) by Liz Pichon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Family, Friends and Furry Creatures (Tom Gates) by Liz Pichon at Amazon.com.

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