Hamster S.A.M.: Odd-ventures in Space!

Dave McDonald. DM Creative/Sweet Corn (www.davemcdonald.com), $9.99 ISBN 978-0-9798445-2-2
McDonald has clearly never met a pun he couldn't put to good use, and he packs the pages of this graphic novel with them, along with plenty of pratfalls, groaners, and gags. Illustrated in b&w in a style that slots somewhere between SpongeBob SquarePants and Walt Kelly's Pogo comics, the story introduces an over-serious classroom hamster named Sam with a double life as an agent with the Secret Adventure Patrol. After receiving a mission that will take him to the Hamster-national Space Station, Sam falls in with a wisecracking, mullet-wearing mouse named Fescue, and the two are on their way into space (in an outhouse strapped to a booster rocket). Potty humor and slapstick are abundant (Sam winds up covered with bird droppings, molten cheese, and the contents of a clogged toilet at various points), and Sam and Fescue gleefully mug for readers as they deliver their punchlines ("Now that's how you blow a nose!" cheers Sam after they take out a nose-shaped enemy spaceship, the "Schnozzola-3000"). A lighthearted interview with real-life astronaut Gregory H. Johnson closes out this proudly goofy adventure. Ages 7–up.
Reviewed on: 01/27/2014
Release date: 06/01/2013
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