Hamster Sitter Wanted

Maverick Arts. May 2019. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781848863590.
K-Gr 3–Hamster friends Marco and Polo are unexpectedly entrusted with the care of Marco’s many hamster cousins and so embark on a thorough search for a hamster-sitter so they can continue their over-the-top adventures. First, Mrs. Baaton the sheep fails to engage the hamster cousins with her knitting, then Mr. Yogani, a giraffe, attempts to soothe them with yoga to disastrous results. Finally, when all hope seems lost, Mrs. Bottomus the hippopotamus literally sits on the hamsters so that Marco and Polo can go “lion dancing” complete with Stenson hats and spurred boots. The hamsters, for their part, appear quite content to be sat upon, and are depicted drawing and reading and playing games from under Mrs. Bottomus’s bottom. The story, using primarily short, simple sentences, is humorous, if unsophisticated, playing with the sounds of language and puns. The illustrations, created digitally, are busy and chaotic which serves to build up the sense of over-the-top adventure and discord throughout the story. Different textures create depth, while the use of line and sequential art builds a sense of dynamic motion, and there is plenty of detailed language within the illustrations for extra engagement.
VERDICT An amusing tale to engage young readers and early elementary students.

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