A lonely little girl makes a friend by assuming responsibility for the forgotten family pet.
Sophia plays with her elaborate dollhouse, imagining a mansion—one in which the fighting between her older twin siblings, Mateo and Martina, won’t be so loud. The twins steal all of their mother’s attention as they argue about chores, neither of them wanting to line their hamster’s cage with newspaper to keep it sanitary and clean. In the pages of these newspapers, Sophia learns about the illusionist Houdini, who becomes the namesake for the family pet once it starts escaping its cage out of boredom and neglect. With an interesting layout of full and partial illustrations, this sweet picture book entertains, especially on the pages that depict Sophia hunting the missing hamster down. A friendship between Sophia and the mischievous pet is inevitable as she discovers the commonalities between Jeannie’s small world and her own miniature playhouse. Interesting subplots available for discussion include sibling rivalry, the historic vaudeville performer, and responsible pet ownership. A helpful section at the end of the book answers questions about how to care for and adopt hamsters as pets. Evans paints the children with light-brown skin and straight or wavy black hair; their names suggest Latinx heritage.
A fine educational tool for children who think they may be ready to give love and attention to a pet. (online resources) (Picture book. 3-6)