Einstein the Class Hamster and the Very Real Game Show

illus. by Jake Tashjian. 176p. (Einstein the Talking Hamster: Bk. 2). Henry Holt/Christy Ottaviano Bks. 2014. pap. $12.99. ISBN 9781627790260.
Gr 1–3—There are few aspects to school life quite as "aw-"-inspiring as the class pet, and they don't come cuter—or smarter—than Einstein the hamster, whose trivia knowledge (and ability to communicate his expertise to student Ned) has landed Ms. Moreno's class on a game show. Simple text, broken up by wacky, energetic drawings and sections revealing fascinating factoids from the aptly named Einstein, will hook kids and build their confidence and reading skills.
When his student friends compete on Kids Know Stuff, class hamster Einstein tags along, hoping for a chance to be a game show host himself. The story is rather didactic, but the simply structured narrative and childlike cartoons are inviting for readers moving on from chapter books. "Einstein's Tasty Tidbits" pages add interesting trivia; a quiz is appended. Reading list, websites.

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