A fun-loving animal rescue tale to remember.




A family comes up with a creative solution to rescue their pet hamster in this clever based-on-a-true-story adventure from debut author Allensworth.

Mr. Hamster has a very happy life with his owner, Ricky, and his family: Mom, Dad, older brother Jerry, little sister Mary Rose, Jason the black lab, and Spooky the black cat. Ricky takes very good care of the little guy, but one day, Ricky forgets to shut the cage door. When Mr. Hamster decides to explore, he falls down a heat vent and becomes trapped two stories down. Unable to find the hamster after the whole family searches, Ricky is distraught. Finally, it’s Jason who sniffs out Mr. Hamster’s location and Dad who comes up with a brilliant plan (no spoilers!) to bring the hamster back up. The cartoon illustrations by an unnamed illustrator add extra details to the plot: Ricky’s tears reveal just how upset he is after blaming himself for Mr. Hamster’s disappearance, and the cutaway images of the family around the vent give an excellent sense of scale. The story is told in an accessible vocabulary for young readers, with simple sentences and few challenging words. But it’s not the illustrations or the storytelling style that provide the hook: It’s Ricky’s dad’s clever solution that kids will love.

A fun-loving animal rescue tale to remember.

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4808-5057-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Archway Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs.


Rejoice! 25 years later, Wayside School is still in session, and the children in Mrs. Jewls’ 30th-floor classroom haven’t changed a bit.

The surreal yet oddly educational nature of their misadventures hasn’t either. There are out-and-out rib ticklers, such as a spelling lesson featuring made-up words and a determined class effort to collect 1 million nail clippings. Additionally, mean queen Kathy steps through a mirror that turns her weirdly nice and she discovers that she likes it, a four-way friendship survives a dumpster dive after lost homework, and Mrs. Jewls makes sure that a long-threatened “Ultimate Test” allows every student to show off a special talent. Episodic though the 30 new chapters are, there are continuing elements that bind them—even to previous outings, such as the note to an elusive teacher Calvin has been carrying since Sideways Stories From Wayside School (1978) and finally delivers. Add to that plenty of deadpan dialogue (“Arithmetic makes my brain numb,” complains Dameon. “That’s why they’re called ‘numb-ers,’ ” explains D.J.) and a wild storm from the titular cloud that shuffles the school’s contents “like a deck of cards,” and Sachar once again dishes up a confection as scrambled and delicious as lunch lady Miss Mush’s improvised “Rainbow Stew.” Diversity is primarily conveyed in the illustrations.

Ordinary kids in an extraordinary setting: still a recipe for bright achievements and belly laughs. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-296538-7

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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