An elementary school class’s hamster winds up in outer space in this debut children’s book that may surprise and delight early readers.
Cam is thrilled to bring Harry, the class’s pet hamster, home with him for the weekend. But when Cam turns his back at the wrong moment, the adventurous Harry launches himself skyward in Cam’s toy rocket. Cam builds a jet pack to chase him (“dear reader, please don’t try this at home!”). He starts his search on the planet Mercury, where he meets an octopus who was flung into space by a rogue boat propeller. The tentacled creature grabs hold of Cam and travels with him to Venus, where they meet a pig. A clear pattern is established: The motley crew lands and sees a creature. Could it be a hamster? No, it’s another animal with a wacky tale to tell about how it landed so far out in the solar system and who’d like to come along for the ride. As the team nears Neptune, even kids who love repetition may long for the tiniest bit of variation—and on Pluto, it comes. Harry is there, of course, but that’s not the surprise: It’s how the huge gang of space travelers manages to get home—an ingenious solution involving chewing gum and underpants. Some parents may groan and roll their eyes, but the resolution will tickle most early-elementary readers, as will its accompanying illustration. That said, the time it takes to get to this point may feel longer than it needs to be, as the text’s singsong rhythm and often forced rhymes (“roamed”/“home”) slow the story down.
A repetitious children’s book that’s ultimately saved by its sharp understanding of kids’ wacky sense of humor.