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Hamster magic

by Lynne Jonell


Reviews

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Gr 2-4-The Willow family has just moved into a rickety old house, and Abner, Tate, Derek, and Celia have made an incredible discovery: their pet hamster has the ability to grant wishes. Celia, frustrated with her status as the youngest, accidentally blurts out her wish-to be bigger. While she is envisioning being a bigger person, Hammy the Third actually turns her into a huge hamster. Now the children must figure out how to reverse this wayward wish before their parents find out-and they must do it before the sun comes up. Written for readers who are just beginning to tackle chapter books, this title may find an audience with those who fancy hamsters or who have them as pets. Other readers may find little else to draw them into the story. Besides the somewhat ridiculous premise, another flaw is that the origin of "hamster magic" is barely explained-supposedly burrowing animals will accrue it the more time they spend underground. When Hammy the Third doesn't have enough magic on his own to reverse Celia's wish, all the burrowing animals band together to transform her back into a little girl. It's this deus-ex-machina approach to conflict resolution that makes the story hard to swallow. Black-and-white cartoon illustrations add some charm and help readers to visualize the characters, but they don't save this title from being a marginal purchase, at best.-Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


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