The fantastic Tommy v Cancer blog tour is in full swing, and today it’s my turn to review one of Tommy’s books. So, without further ado, here are my thoughts on the Hackney Short Novel Award-winning Uniform…
First off, I have to give a big thumbs-up to Barrington Stoke, the Edinburgh publisher who specialise in dyslexia-friendly books. I think it’s absolutely brilliant (and essential!) to have a good selection of literature for all children, and Barrington Stoke do a great job providing it.
So, what’s Uniform about? Here’s the blurb: When Matt’s mum buys him an old school uniform in a charity shop the tables are turned on the bullies. But what’s with the uniform? And how far will it make Matt go?
Matt Miller’s having a pretty rotten time at school. He’s the prime target of Steven Chadwick the bully, his home life’s in turmoil and to make matters worse he doesn’t even have a school uniform. If you’ve ever been bullied as a child – and, frankly, who hasn’t? – you’ll sympathise with Matt and his best friend Neil. There comes a point where a bullied person can reach breaking point and they run the risk of becoming a bully themselves, but probably not in the unusual way Matt does…
The plot moves along at a cracking pace and there’s some fab illustrations by Dan Chernett that really add to the action:
I also really liked that Matt is relatable for a lot of kids from single-parent families, that might also have the same money worries. (Why yes, I’m still keen to see a bit of diversity in children’s books, why’d you ask?) This quote kind of sums up Matt’s anger, and it broke my heart a little bit…
At last I was paying everyone back for all my problems. It felt like I was hitting the men who’d come and taken my Wii away because my mum had missed so many payments. Like I was hitting the people next door to our new flat who played music until two in the morning when my mum had to get up early for work.
It felt like I was hitting my dad.
I’d recommend Uniform to all young readers (in particular, reluctant/struggling readers) because it’s exciting, an easy and quick read, and it has a nice supernatural twist!
Hopefully I’ve persuaded you to buy a copy, and if you’ve enjoyed this there’s plenty more on the blog tour, along with a Twitter chat on the 30th June. Tommy’s had a particularly hard time in recent days, so please consider giving a donation to help him kick cancer’s butt using the links below the tour schedule!
Tommy is the author of the popular 13-book Scream Street series for 7 to 10 year olds, published by Walker Books in the UK and Candlewick Press in the US. His other books include Zombie!, Wolf and Uniform (winner of the Hackney Short Novel Award) for Barrington Stoke, Boredom Busters and Quick Fixes For Kids’ Parties (How To Books), and Making A Drama Out Of A Crisis (Network Continuum).
In theatre, Tommy’s plays have been performed to thousands of children on national tours to venues such as The Hackney Empire, Leeds City Varieties, and Nottingham Playhouse. These productions include Hey Diddle Diddle, Rumplestiltskin, Jack & Jill In The Forgotten Nursery, and Humpty Dumpty And The Incredibly Daring Rescue Of The Alien Princess From Deep Space. He is also responsible for five episodes of the CBBC TV series, Planet Cook (Platinum Films).
As an actor, Tommy played the Clearlake MC in the West End musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story for over eight years, in addition to roles in the movies Zombie Love Stories (where he battled hordes of Scottish undead) and Going Off Big Time (where he was beaten up on a bouncy castle). A veteran of pantomime, he has portrayed just about every comic character from Abanazer to an Ugly Sister.
Tommy lives in Lancashire with his wife and two sons. He is a HUGE fan of all things Doctor Who, plays blues harmonica, and makes a mean balloon poodle. He sees sleep as a waste of good writing time.