A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
There’s a bit of trivia about the things that interest Tom and his friends, and a British-to-American English glossary, but most of the information surrounds Tom’s plans to get out of doing homework.
Tom tries to get away with doing as little as possible at school and at home, and while he’s happy and good-natured, he thoroughly enjoys tormenting his sister.
Positive Role Models
Tom’s parents and teachers care about Tom and give him a lot of positive guidance, despite his laziness.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that author-illustrator L. Pichon’s Tom Gates series is a funny look at the everyday life of a kid who tries to get away with the bare minimum at school and home so he can focus on the things he loves: drawing, his band, and tormenting his older sister, Delia. Ten-year-old Tom is the goodhearted kid that drives parents and teachers crazy: He’s a talented and creative artist, a quick-witted prankster, and a carefree soul completely uninterested in doing any work at school or home that takes away from his own interests. Tom’s engaging illustrations throughout each book pack a goofiness on every page and give context for young readers working on their vocabulary. The illustrations and humor also make this series a great choice for reluctant readers. Originally published in the United Kingdom, each book has at the end a “British to American” English glossary.
Is It Any Good?
Tom’s eye-catching illustrations on every page and the fun, doodle-filled text throughout make this a fast, engaging series for readers transitioning to longer chapter books, but it's so much more. The Tom Gates series will connect with any kid who's ever tried to get out of doing homework, dreamed up creative excuses why they aren’t turning it in, or wondered why they had to go to school when all they really wanted to do was their favorite hobby. The teacher’s patience for Tom’s written excuses is touching. He plays along with Tom, and in doing so gives Tom a trusted connection with an adult who gives him space to be himself while still maintaining high expectations for Tom and his work. It’s nice for readers to see that respect between teacher and student: Tom doesn’t push too far and never means to be truly bad, and the teacher knows that every child is different and gives kids room to be themselves.
Tom’s relationship with his sister Delia can get needlessly antagonistic – he goes out of his way to bother her – but he does it in with a grin, never meaning real harm. In short, Tom Gates is the reflection of many of the readers who hold these books.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.