Book review: Tom Gates: Extra Special Treats ( . . . not)

If you have never read Tom Gates books, I strongly recommend you get one for your child. The latest in the series Tom Gates: Extra Special Treats ( . . . not) is very wintery so perfectly suited for this time of the year.

Tom-Gates-Extra-Special-Treats book 2013

The peculiarity of Tom Gates books is that it is written in clearly readable handwriting and incorporates lots of doodles to make the story come alive. When I say lots of doodles you struggle to imagine it, but it is literally filled with little scribbles that are clearly well illustrated but still give you the idea that a child made them. This technique is chosen on purpose to make reading more appealing to children.

My 7 year old son absolutely loves Tom Gates and was glued to this book from the beginning to the end. It seems to appeal to boys in particular as the doodles make the story so readable and enjoyable and we know how they can be lazy when it comes to reading sometimes.

School children between 7 and 11 in particular relate with Tom’s adventures and encounters on the school ground. This book is extremely funny and kids puts themselves in the shoes of Tom (the main character) who is always up to trouble.

The author of the Tom Gates series is Liz Pichon who has quite a unique biography worth sharing. When Liz was little she was very keen on drawing Walt Disney characters and making stuff out of clay. Her Mum said she was very good at “Making a mess” (this is still true today). Liz kept on drawing and went to Camberwell School Of Art London where she got a BA Hons in Graphic Design. Her first (and only) PROPER job was working for Jive Records designing Album covers for various musicians and artists you’ve probably never heard of (and a few you might have).

Liz has been a freelance illustrator and writer for quiet a long time. She has won several nice awards for her books that she gets very over excited about. The Brilliant World Of Tom Gates is Liz’s first (of three) fiction books for older children. Liz is married and has three children. They live in Brighton amongst all the other hundreds of illustrators that live there too.

I love this video where Liz teaches how to draw her doodles. Amazing addition to the books!

For Tom Gates’ super fans (which we now are) there’s even a free software to get you started in the world of doodles.

You can get it from http://www5.scholastic.co.uk/zone/tomgatesdoodles.htm.

Tom Gates books are so great as they don’t just make kids passionate about reading but also for art and doodling is a great simple way to start!

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