The Hamster Princess takes on Little Red Riding Hood.
A small, sycophantic, adorable-voiced hamster girl wearing a bright red hood seeks out Princess Harriet for help, saying her grandmother is being terrorized by weasel-wolves. Although she is deeply repelled by the little hamster’s extreme cuteness, Harriet and her trusty companion, Wilbur, follow Red into the woods, where they find the weasel-wolves. They are acting suspiciously docile—but Red says to ignore them; it’s “the big one” who’s the problem. Their first encounter with the big one involves a badly spelled note and a drawing of Harriet with “little stink-lines,” but the second moonlit meeting is even stranger, as the big one is looking a lot more hamsterous and actually speaks (his name’s Grey). Grey explains that he was “born a weasel-wolf” but was “bitten by a hamster under the full moon,” making him a were-hamster. Probing reveals a shocking shared backstory between Grey and Harriet, and Wilbur’s hilariously ill at ease while Grey and Harriet bond. Grey’s looking for packs of weasel-wolves that have gone missing; it seems they vanish when Red and her grandmother enter an area. The jokes, both visual and textual, share space with the plot’s central conflict: Harriet must decide whom to trust—a hamster subject who annoys her or a hamster-eating monster she likes.
Vintage Vernon humor and a cast so lovable it hurts. (Graphic/fantasy hybrid. 7-12)