Taking care of a pet can be time-consuming, but caring for a secret mutant hamster could take over your life.
When a hamster mysteriously appears at the back of Mr. Copeland’s sixth-grade classroom, Sam Gibbs, though he hasn’t been the most popular student since the, ah, caricature-drawing incident, gets to name it: Hamstersaurus Rex (due to its tiny T-rex arms). Hammie escapes and later saves Sam from Kiefer “Beefer” Vanderkoff, Horace Hotwater Middle School’s dimmest bully, by dropping a solar system made of pennies on Beefer’s head. After gorging on SmilesCorp snacks and a different product called Dinoblast Powerpacker, Hammie mutates into a part-dinosaur, part-hamster eating machine with a fondness for Sam, who can’t take Hammie home due to his mother’s fur allergy. Can Sam keep Hammie a secret, save the rodent from Beefer’s revenge, and feed the furry garbage disposal enough to quiet its rampages? O’Donnell kicks off a new series with an illustrated origin story sure to please fans of Betty G. Birney’s Humphrey and Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate. High jinks are funny and gross without being too rude, and characters are developed just realistically enough to ensure readers will identify with Sam and his female best friend, Dylan. Miller’s cartoons depict a largely white student body, including Sam, Beefer, and Dylan.
A certain pleaser where furry fictions are well-loved. (Science fiction. 7-11)