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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Memoirs of a Hamster, written by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers. Sleeping Bear Press, 2013. $16.99 ages 5 and up

"Night Two

I was just telling myself, "Seymour, you've got it made," when my exercise wheel was delivered. (I like to work out.) It's the best model around, the FuzzyBoy 360..."

Seymour lives the sweet life. He is loved, he has all of the amenities available to a pampered pet and he's safe within his comfy cage. He thinks he's got the world by the tail. That is, until Pearl the cat lets him know that the world is a big place, and convinces him that with freedom comes endless pleasure....and food!

After all, she says, there is plentiful room to run outside the confines of the cage, the supply of sunflower seeds is enormous on a staircase made of them and oh, the sunroom. Why, the sunroom is filled with yogurt drops, Seymour's favorite treat. It gets a hamster thinking:

"Little Girl woke me up to clean my cage today. She kissed me on the nose again. Barf! She needs to knock  that off. But while she was carrying me around, I realized there's a lot of house around me that I haven't seen. It seems to go on forever! I tried as hard as I could, but I couldn't see a sunroom."

Of course, if you know cats, you know that they have their own agendas. Pearl is no different. Once Seymour is out, it's her chance at a nifty and nutritious nibble. She terrorizes him after telling him a 'big fat lie' and encouraging his escape. Seymour is patient, finding comfort and safety under the sofa. He manages to write a will, and wait until Pearl succumbs to sleep. Chance encounters with other terrors, and the timely appearance of Little Girl, ensure that Seymour is unlikely to make another escape attempt in his lifetime! Ah, bliss!

Each of the memoir entries are Nights, numbered from one to fourteen. It's just too much fun, by far. What a great readaloud for home and the classroom, and an excellent mentor text for thinking about memoir writing! You must have memories to share, and I'll bet your kids do, too. Be sure to read this one alongside Memoirs of a Goldfish (2010).

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