Hamster friends Marco and Polo don’t want to give up their adventures, so they look for a sitter who can handle all of Marco’s rowdy little cousins.
Marco and Polo just want to go sky diving or “lion dancing” together, but sitter after sitter refuses to return once they have spent a day with the uncountable horde of hamster children. Just as Marco and Polo have reluctantly decided to give up their hobbies, they meet Ms. Bottomus, a hippopotamus who reins in the hamsters by literally sitting on them. Children will get a laugh out of the puns and visual jokes throughout the book. Gunaratnam infuses the text with simple but amusing wordplay, such as the “wound up” sheep babysitter, who is both frazzled and literally wrapped in yarn. Marks peppers her digitally collaged illustrations with details for children to notice, such as a pigeon looking on in concern as a fox reads the ad seeking a hamster sitter and a tailpiece in which two of the little hamsters construct pointy-hat “derrière defenders.” Though there are some puzzling elements (How old are Marco and Polo? Why do they live together? Where have all the responsible adults gone?), the plot follows a satisfying problem-and-solution structure and, enjoyably, does not end in a lesson about how good children should behave.
A fun and engaging book with plenty of humor. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 3-7)