Hamster lives in the woods with his friends Mole, Snail, Hedgehog and Rabbit. When Hamster announces that he wants to visit his cousins on the moon, his woodland friends persuade him to go on a trip to the North Pole instead. What follows is a series of encounters and unlikely friendships with penguins (let's just overlook this geographical inaccuracy), a polar bear and even a whale.
Hamster is selfish and often insensitive and forthright. When I read the story with all three of my children, they immediately noticed his boorish behaviour towards his friends and understood that his inappropriateness was part of the book's appeal. In Hamster, I couldn't help but recognise one or two people I have met throughout my life, but at the same time, he is funny and my daughters and I giggled all the way through his adventures with his friends at the North Pole.
The story is told through beautiful colour illustrations offset with dialogue in speech bubbles. The chapters are short and punchy and set out in a way that would appeal to even the most reluctant of readers. In fact, we read this book in one sitting, simply because we were all eager to turn the page to look at the next series of images.
French author Astrid Desbordes has teamed up with illustrator Pauline Martin before to write an earlier book about Hamster called Reflections of a Solitary Hamster, and we will be looking that title up after falling in love with this character.
Thank you to Gecko Press for sending my family a copy of Travels of an Extraordinary Hamster to review.
Reading level: 7+
Released: June 2015