The Wild Hamster

Alain Vaes, Author Little Brown and Company $14.95 (28p) ISBN 978-0-316-89504-0
A set designer for the Boston Ballet, Vaes made a notable debut in children's books with The Porcelain Pepper Pot and here, his extraordinary artistry results in another singular creation. Shimmering with light, the paintings evoke the end of the 19th century in Vaes's native France. The children of a farmer find a tiny animal in the woods and bring it home. They call it a hamster and take good care of the pet. The parents and the villagers like the strange creature but everyone worries when it keeps growing. The hamster devours crops and even trees; the children mourn when the people agree they must kill the ""pet,'' by now the size of an elephant. Skillfully, the author guards the secret of the hamster's salvation until the story's end. Writing with restraint, he increases the tension and the joys that children experience in this very different fairy tale. (28)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1985
Release date: 01/01/1985
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