Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY by Betty G. Birney

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HUMPHREY

By Betty G. Birney

Age Range: 7 - 11

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-399-24198-1
Publisher: Putnam

Humphrey’s world consists of Room 26, an elementary classroom, and the children’s homes he visits on weekends. Humphrey is wry-humored and big-hearted . . . for a hamster. He’s also smart, having learned to spell in only a week, and has a propensity to repeat exclamations thrice, “Glad-glad-glad!” Everyone adores Humphrey except the teacher, Mrs. Brisbane, who vows to be rid of him. But Humphrey has a greenthumb when it comes to humans, and everyone with whom he has contact benefits from his helping hand. Humphrey assists a shy student in finding her voice, the lonely janitor in finding love, and even Mrs. Brisbane comes to understand that “you can learn a lot about yourself by taking care of another species.” The story deftly avoids triteness while still feeling breezy and acknowledging deeply felt troubles, such as Mrs. Brisbane’s husband’s depression. The pet-care tips punctuating each chapter would benefit any youngster thinking about getting a hamster, but for everyone else, this read is simply good-good-good. (Fiction. 7-11)