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Tom Gates: Extra Special Treats (Not) by Liz Pichon is the latest volume in the Tom Gates novels, as the title might expect you to believe.

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This is Tom’s sixth outing in print, and I continue to love the books, despite the fact that I really shouldn’t.

A lot of the things that annoy me about the Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney, endear me to the Tom Gates books.  Where I find the lack of content in the Wimpy Kid books annoying, particularly as I end up buying them in hardback for my children and the price chafes me excessively, I don’t mind forking out for the Tom Gates books at all, and they are just as empty.

In this book, Tom enjoys the snow with his mates, fails to do his homework, upsets his neighbours and goes to his grandparents fiftieth wedding anniversary.  Not a lot else happens, and much of the page is blank space or, as with Wimpy Kid, illustrations.

Where I find the illustrations in Wimpy Kid childish and annoying, I find the illustrations in the Tom Gates books rather charming and funny.  I love the doodle style and want to get my pens and colour it in.  I love the fact that the author (as Tom) shows you how to make a doodle, or in this case, a monster pop up.

I find Greg Heffley utterly annoying as a character, and I find Tom Gates utterly charming, even though the two boys do share some of the same, self absorbed teen qualities.

I think the difference is that Tom Gates is rather lovely and loveable. Even his enemies are not having a terrible time, and Tom is never out to get anyone or make anyone suffer at his own expense. He seems to genuinely love his friends, his family and his life, and there is an element of kindness which cuts through all the mischief that makes the books rather lovely.

We all enjoyed this book over Christmas. It works for boys and girls (and lady librarians) from about the age of six upwards. It’s fun, it’s easy to read. It makes an excellent chapter or transitional book for children who are either newly confident readers or who need a bit of a push. It’s a great addition to any library whether at home or school.

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