Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for. With plenty of pictures bursting with charm and character, this hilarious book about an irresistible rascal is the new must-read for the chapter book set.



This early chapter book may just be my new favourite.  Sibling dynamics are hilariously explored, and reflected my childhood growing up with two younger siblings.  Even though I am the oldest, I sympathized with Dory ‘Rascal’ as she longed to play with her older siblings.  When Dory’s siblings brush her off and try to scare her with Mrs. Gobble Gracker (an imaginary 507 year old baby thief), her wonderful cast of make-believe characters (including her leprechaun fairy godmother) come to life.   Dory is one big ball of energy, and I too, would be exhausted after an afternoon with her.

Her adventures are illustrated with black and white drawings throughout the book. They truly add to the hilarity. Just looking at the faces of Dory’s siblings (p.144) as she retrieves a ball from the toilet makes me want to gag! Kids will love it!   In the end, the story’s message is sweet and heartwarming.  All children no matter the birth order, have a special role in the family. I definitely will be recommending this book to early chapter book readers, especially fans of Junie B. Jones. Can’t wait for installment #2!

More reviews:

“…this inventive child is irresistible…Charming, funny, true to life.” –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Time spent with Dory is time well spent.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L.Pichon

Tom Gates is the master of excuses for late homework: dog attacks, spilt water, lightening … Tom’s exercise book is full of his doodles, cartoons and thoughts, as well as comments from his long-suffering teacher, Mr Fullerton. After gaining five merits for his ‘Camping Sucks’ holiday story, Tom’s work starts to go downhill, which is a pity, as he’s desperate to impress Amy Porter, who sits next to him …

tom gates

We are always looking for Diary of a Wimpy Kid read-alikes, and The Brilliant World of Tom Gates does not disappoint.  Winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, this book is also written in diary format and includes illustrations, drawings, and different typesetting and fonts.   Although some children may not understand some of the British terms used, Pichon includes a handy glossary to explain words like biscuits, bonkers and dodgy.

Rather than focus on his ‘merits’, Tom spends much of his time thinking about his band and doodling.  To cover this up, he comes up with clever and creative excuses for why his homework isn’t done, like a leaking pen or dog drool.   I can practically hear young readers cracking up!  Personally, I had to laugh at Tom’s reference to his grandparents as ‘the fossils’ and his grandma’s very strange food combinations like a banana on a pizza!

The one issue I had was with Tom’s treatment of Marcus. I’m not sure what Marcus ever did to deserve being constantly teased. Tom writes ‘I’m an idiot’ on Marcus’ self-portrait and embarrasses him in front of the whole school.  Tom even puts temporary tattoos on Marcus’s face when he’s sleeping.  I felt bad for Marcus, and think Pichon didn’t have to include this form of bullying to obtain laughs.

Overall, a great funny and quick read for 7-12 year olds, especially reluctant readers.  The ‘Tom Gates’ series continues with Excellent Excuses (and other good stuff).

B’s in Bookshops Youtube Video

WordPress won’t allow me to write the real name of the video, but click to check it out!



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