Night 1 / My life is perfect. / I have a bowl full of seeds, a cozy pile of wood shavings, and room to run. / I'm never leaving here. / Question: Who's the luckiest hamster in the world? / Answer: ME! Seymour the hamster has the perfect life. He has a spacious cage, a constant food supply, and a FuzzyBoy 360 exercise wheel that lets him run to his heart's content. Life could not be better. Or could it? When Pearl the cat tells Seymour of the goodies beyond the safe confines of his cage, he starts to think he's missing out. And out is the new in! It's only after Seymour is out of his cage that he begins to fully appreciate his safe and cozy home.
A scary foray into the wide (indoor) world cures a hamster of any yen for adventure in this variation on the creators' Memoirs of a Goldfish (2010). Seymour the hamster is quite comfy in his pen, thank you--until lured into engineering an ingenious escape by Pearl the cat's teasing promises of a staircase made of sunflower seeds and a sunroom filled with yogurt drops. But Pearl turns out to be a "big, fat liar," and Seymour's adventure turns into a frantic flight not only from her, but also from Buck the dog and, most frightening of all, a roaring monster called a "Hoover." The arrangement of Seymour's chatty exposition into 14 "Nights" is a clear contrivance--he supposedly spends Nights 11, 12 and part of 13 cowering under the sofa before the watchful Pearl falls asleep and he can make a break--but the pacing is suitably breathless. His hamster-ish outlook is effectively conveyed in his narrative and in Bowers' low-angle cartoon views of a chubby-cheeked, bright-eyed pet who, though once susceptible to temptation, clearly enjoys the familiar comforts of wheel and water bottle--to which he is returned following a last-second rescue by his human yogurt-drop supplier, Little Girl. "Question: Who's the luckiest hamster in the world? Answer: ME!" Readers will probably agree. (Picture book. 6-8)
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