The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

Last updated Friday, September 28, 2018

Author: Liz Pichon
Date of Publication: 2015
ISBN: 763674729
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2018

Synopsis: Meet Tom Gates. When his teachers don’t have their beady eyes on him, he likes to draw pictures and write about stuff, like last summer’s worst camping vacation ever (five merits!), or how much he hates sitting next to nosy Marcus Meldrew, the most annoying boy at school. All Tom really wants is to score tickets to see the best band ever, Dude, when they come to town, and to impress Amy Porter, who is very nice and smart (but is currently ignoring him). Tom’s teachers think he is easily distracted and “lacks focus,” but that’s a bit harsh — can he help it if his grumpy big sister, Delia, made him late for school (again), or that last night’s homework had to be sacrificed to stave off a vicious dog attack? Master of excuses, creative storyteller, and middle-school comedian extraordinaire, Tom Gates is guaranteed to get kids turning the pages — and keep them laughing.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What kinds of pictures do you see on the cover?
•  Do you like to draw pictures?
•  What is your favorite thing to draw?


•  Cross (pg 4) annoyed or angry
•  Beady (pg 12) used to describe eyes that are small, round, and shiny
•  Keen (pg 16) very excited about and interested in something
•  Pitched (pg 21) to set up
•  Merit (pg 28) good quality or feature that deserves to be praised
•  Barges (pg 33) to suddenly and rudely interrupt or disturb

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What did you do the morning of your first day back to school?
•  How do you get to school?
•  What did you do over the summer vacation?
•  Have you ever gone camping?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw a picture showing what you did for summer vacation, and write a short story below it.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!