Sweet Sounds: The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

Goodreads Synopsis

The top-selling U.K. series for middle-grade listeners now crosses the pond!

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, Dude3, 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 listening—and keep them laughing.


If you have ever asked the question, what would Diary of a Wimpy Kid be like if it took place in Britain, instead of America, here is your answer. Kid appeal will undoubtedly be high for both the book and audiobook, now that Tom has made his way to the U.S. Listeners will enjoy Rupert Grint's convincing and amusing portrayal of Tom and his friends and will probably never get Dog Zombie's classic hit, Delia out of their heads. (No, seriously. Sometimes in the middle of the night, Delia pops up out of nowhere...) In addition, I find Tom Gates ten times more charming than Diary of a Wimpy Kid, simply because of the British culture. Outside of travel, what better way is there to be introduced to a culture than through a story? 


While the kid appeal is high for Tom Gates, references to British culture will be lost on certain readers, which will cause the story to lose some or all of its appeal. In addition, Tom Gates offers very little by way of literary quality. The greatest weakness is in the audio production itself. Multitudinous sound effects are included too frequently, in a forced and unnatural manner, and are raised to such a volume as to drown out the speaker's voice. It took me about half the audiobook before I realized the name of Tom's favorite band is Dude3. 


Tom Gates is a perfect recommendation for reluctant reader or someone searching for a nice piece of mindless entertainment. After the stresses that invariably come with the end of a semester, the holidays, and the start of a new semester, perhaps a bit of mindless entertainment is just the thing.  Unfortunately, with the exclusion of Rupert Grint's voice and the catchy tune, Delia, the story's merits outweigh the merits of the audiobook. I would; therefore, recommend reading this one, rather than listening.



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