Friday 8 March 2013

Genius Ideas (Mostly) (Tom Gates)

Genius Ideas (Mostly) (Tom Gates) by L. Pichon (Scholastic UK)
PB RRP $15.99
ISBN 978-1-407134-50-5
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Tom Gates is a normal school boy. He’s not keen on training for Sports Day, is embarrassed by his family, loves to practise with his band Dogzombies, and enjoys doodling during boring classes, if only Marcus would stop dobbing. When things are looking bad, (like the food at the last family picnic), it is Tom’s genius ideas that get everyone through. Now if only Dogzombies can get a gig at the school talent show.

Genius Ideas is a fun read. From the opening sentence ‘If my writing looks a bit wobbly it’s because I’ve just had a terrible shock!’ I was hooked. And while all the problems in Tom’s world are minor in the scheme of things, they are all very major to a young boy. From Dad’s cycling shorts, to his sister’s green hair, to the photo of himself in the school newsletter which makes him look like a pineapple, Tom has a lot to contend with.

The humour is very dry, reminiscent of the sarcasm of the young teenagers I know and the author seems to get inside their minds in a very believable fashion. The banter between Tom and his sister Delia is classic.

Visually, it is fun to read. Every page is packed with sketches and changing fonts, which all influence the way the story is read and makes it feel as if Tom is telling the story intimately to the reader in the same way a diary may.

I think this book would appeal to anyone from between the ages of seven and twelve. It would also be great for hesitant readers as the text is not demanding, but the storyline is suited to older readers. It is light and amusing, with laugh-out-load moments and parts that could be easily related to most people’s childhoods.

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