TOM GATES by L. Pichon


Excellent Excuses (and Other Good Stuff)
From the "Tom Gates" series, volume 2
by , illustrated by
Age Range: 8 - 12
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That wimpy kid from across the pond returns in a sequel to The Brilliant World of Tom Gates (2014).

The pleasure of a two-week school vacation is only somewhat blunted by Tom's need to make up the homework so tragically “eaten” before the holiday. After a few mulligans, Tom is at liberty to go to his mate Derek's and rehearse with the up-and-coming rock sensation DogZombies. Since they need a drummer for "Wild Thing," the band mates decide to audition one as soon as school resumes. Cartoon-punctuated high jinks ensue. Tom must cope with an epic toothache (eating sweets occupies much of his narrative), his and Derek's brief stint in the school band (the members of which play recycled instruments with great accomplishment, unlike the DogZombies), new trio DogZombies' debut at Tom's granddad's retirement home, and his teacher's irritating insistence that he do his homework properly. Also his nemeses, goth sister Delia and class suck-up Marcus Meldrew. Like his Yank counterpart, Tom's narrative is episodic, rambling, and only unevenly funny. Tom's doodles are appealing, though, particularly the unsmiling, sunglasses-clad face of sister Delia, repeated whenever her name appears throughout. An appended glossary unpacks such British mysteries as "biscuit" and "dodgy."

The only thing that materially distinguishes Tom Gates from Greg Heffley and his legions of pretenders is his accent; some readers may feel that's good enough. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 12th, 2015
ISBN: 978-0-7636-7474-8
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Candlewick
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2015


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