Book Review: The Useful Book My review of this new activity, recipe and art/craft book celebrating…
The Hamster Book – Book Review
A delightful new picture book by the talented Sylvia Borando and published by Walker Books.
Also available on Book Depository: The Hamster Book
Also by this author:
The Cat Book (Book Depository)
The Hamster Book is self-explanatory. Like other books by Borando, it’s interactive, which makes for a lot of fun reading aloud. We first meet the hamster on the front cover and get to name it before the story properly starts. Then we feed it, pat it, tickle it, applaud its tricks and send it off to sleep – oh yes, and what goes in must come out: we also have some hamster poo to clean up!
Interaction is always fun. The size of this book makes it not so easy to read to a large class (it’s about A5 size), but the illustrations are clear and uncluttered and you could do it. It works very well one on one. On each page there’s something for the child to do. Even better, for children starting on the journey to reading, the words are colour-coded, so that the explanation is in black and the instruction is in blue. You can encourage your child to read only the blue or the black, for example, to make the task easier.
The simplicity of the story is a plus. There’s no plot here, just a few moments in the life of your pet hamster. For families considering a pet, this is a very simple introduction to the basics, with a bit of fun and imagination thrown in. For families without pets, this gives a chance to play with one in a surprisingly interactive way.
Really, there’s not much to hate here. Perhaps an over-use of exclamation marks, but that’s getting a bit picky. There are no hidden themes in this book. You can use it to illustrate themes such as gentleness, responsibility, celebrating others’ attempts, success or no, and cause and effect. But none of these things is thrown in your face: it’s up to you whether or not to highlight them to your child. For people looking for a deep and meaningful story, this is not the book. But sometimes, the simplest stories can provide the most opportunities for independent thought and development of ideas.
Our Rating (channelling our love of ice cream, our rating system works the way we like our ice cream: the more scoops the better. Besides, good books should be devoured!
Best = four scoops):
Three scoops! a very enjoyable interlude!
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