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Monday, January 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Hamster. Written by Cynthia Lord and illustrated by Derek Anderson. Scholastic, 2011. $19.99 ages 2 and up

"Spin toys, glow toys,
wind it up and go toys.
Soft toys, hard toys,
ride it through the yard toys.

Which would you choose?"

Whenever I share Hot Rod Hamster I know I am going to be asked to read it's such fun! Listeners love the rollicking rhyme and the invitation to make their own choices about a multitude of things.

I think that a child's birthday might be the most important day of their year. There is so much excitement attached, and the chance to share it with friends and family. So when Hamster wakes up on his birthday morn, he is thrilled and cannot wait to share the news with his friend Dog. Dog is oblivious to Hamster's joy and seems focused only on his own shopping trip.

First up is the bakery and while the cakes look delectable, Dog is set on getting dog biscuits. That choice is Hamster's first disappointment of the day. On they go to the toy store, the card shop, and finally for a haircut. It's late now and Hamster is more than a bit down in the mouth:

"Long day, late day, all I did was wait day.
Frown day,  fret day, how could they forget day."

If you are sitting with a group of young children while reading this rhythmic tale, you will have been listening to their growing excitement as they watch all of Hamster's other friends following from store to store with clipboard in hand and money in their pockets. When the two best friends finally make it back to Hamster's house, Hamster will finally be 'in' on the surprise, too.

The brightly colored acrylic paintings fill the pages with fun and grab attention from Hamster's early morning excitement about his special day to the warm thanks he extends while surrounded by the spoils of his friends'  attention at the end of it.

Add this one to your 'birthday books' box and you have another winner on your hands!

1 comment:

  1. This looks like the perfect birthday gift! Thanks for sharing!