My Humongous Hamster

Lorna Freytag. Holt, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9918-8
Scottish author/illustrator Freytag spins her dreamlike photo compositions into a clever what-if fantasy starring a dinosaur-size hamster. The unseen narrator imagines that his or her very hungry (and largely inactive) pet might “eat his whole bowl of food in one huge gulp” and become “humongous!” In the pages that follow, the chubby-cheeked rodent appears in a series of absurd scenarios that highlight the advantages and drawbacks of the hamster’s new supersize form. “He could give me and my friends a ride to the park,” says the narrator as the golden-furred hamster fills an entire spread, with 11 tiny, photographic children superimposed onto its back. Freytag’s images run the gamut from comical—at a fairground, the hamster uses the Ferris wheel as an exercise wheel, and on the opposing page he “eat[s] trees like broccoli”—to downright creepy. “I think I’d find him scary myself, especially if he got angry,” confesses the narrator as Freytag offers a menacing close-up of the hamster’s gleaming eyes, eyes that suggest that the hamster may still be hungry enough to eat a reader or two. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/09/2013
Release date: 02/11/2014
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