'Girls are not necessarily expected to read these types of books': the class book review

Reluctant-reader boys were drawn in by Tom Gates' story, doodles and quizzes. And, contrary to her own expectations, our female reviewer found herself relating to Tom's story, too

Sarah Hepworth

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Title: Tom Gates: Super Good Skills (Almost...)
Author: Liz Pichon
Publisher: Scholastic

Teacher review

When I responded to TES to say that my class wanted to review a book, it was because I was struggling with engaging some of the boys with reading for pleasure. The excitement that filled our classroom once we were told that our chosen book was Tom Gates: Super Good Skills (Almost...) was incredible, and the buzz among the children was brilliant. Every time the post arrived they eagerly asked if it was the book. And, once it did arrive, it didn't disappoint. This has easily been one of our most enjoyable and enthusiastic class reads.

This book explores Tom's school day and the countdown to summer, through his witty and charming first-person narrative. With doodles, speech bubbles and even interactive quizzes, it was easy for us to imagine we were actually part of Tom’s day and classroom, and we were soon laughing with him.

Tom Gates, Super Good Skills, Liz Pichon, class book review

The children found they could relate the book to their own lives, which I'm sure is why they enjoyed it so much – although I do hope Tom's tired and moody teacher, Mr Fullerman, does not remind them of me.

This book was enjoyable for all, and our class of Year 4s have since been racing to borrow other Tom Gates books from the library. Even as I type, I look around and see at least six boys reading a range of the Tom Gates books for pleasure.

I would highly recommend it, if you are looking for an easy, accessible-but-humorous book which you can actually enjoy and use to share a love of reading with your class. Although this book encouraged the boys, girls too laughed along with Tom’s insights about his friends and the adults around him.

Sarah Hepworth is Year 4 teacher and literacy lead at Duston Eldean Primary School in Northampton

Pupil reviews

I enjoyed this book because it is very funny, and if anyone likes reading then I would highly recommend any Tom Gates books as they are so out of this world and funny.

This particular Tom Gates book truly is one the best books ever due to its brilliant humour and layout. The varied layout made it interesting and different as well, and it’s always nice to see books laid out in creative ways. I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys books which make them laugh.

Matthew, 9

We enjoyed this book because it was very humorous and made everyone in our class laugh. One of the reasons I enjoyed it was due the fact that girls are not necessarily expected to read these types of books. However, despite it being very clearly relatable for boys, actually everyone in our class loved it and now some of the girls are enjoying Tom Gates books, too.

Also, I enjoyed the references to Tom's annoying sister, as some of us have our own annoying sisters and feel the same as Tom! Furthermore, it's great to read a book set in a school, as it was so relevant to our lives. I just love how you can imagine it to be your own.

As we were reading, I felt like I was actually Tom and that I was living his life. For this reason, I would highly recommend this book to absolutely anyone!

Tamzin, 9

If you or your class would like to write a review for TES, please contact Adi Bloom, on adi.bloom@tesglobal.com

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Sarah Hepworth

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