Following in the hoofprints of Chlorinda and Dumpy LaRue, Charlie the guinea pig trades in domesticity for stardom in this high-energy variation on a shopworn theme. Sophie is stunned to find Charlie's cage empty: in Brunkus's (illustrator of the Junie B. Jones books) characteristically emphatic rendition, the girl's eyes pop, a bowl drops from one hand and the guinea pig's food sprays forth from the box she holds in the other. As Sophie's family begins a search party, the visual gags are stock: a mother in curlers, gravity-defying braids for the little sister, both characters shouting with their mouths open so wide that their eyes close. Eventually they discover a scrawled note ("Off to the coast...") and an illuminating article on the newspaper that lines his cage ("Pigs Big in Hollywood"). From there Blumenthal (Don't Let the Peas Touch!) cuts to Charlie's trip to Hollywood, where he instantly wins a leading role and huge popularity. Almost as quickly, he realizes that celebrity feels hollow, and he quietly returns to Sophie. Brunkus gamely ratchets up the camp-Charlie's co-star is a pouty Louise Brooks type with a boa, Charlie's movie-star get-up includes a flowing purple cape and cravat, etc.-but the story doesn't deliver the sparkle of the gold-foil accents on the jacket. Ages 3-8. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The story of Charlie the guinea pig, who, after seeing a newspaper clipping in his cage about pigs making it big in Hollywood, leaves his family for his own chance at stardom. Once there, Charlie slightly impresses a casting director with his very emotional reading of the lines. However, the casting director is looking for dark and handsome. So tan furred Charlie dyes his hair dark and returns to truly impress. The casting director telling him that he�s going to be �Big!� After being exposed to hordes of flashing light bulbs from photographers and almost getting stepped on by people numerous times at his first Hollywood party, Charlie begins to miss the comforts of home: playing with his owner, Sophie, no pushy people, and his favorite treat Fruity-Nut Buffet. With these thoughts in his mind, Charlie hightails it back home and into the welcome arms of Sophie, who is more than happy to see him. Though the age is listed as good for 3- to 8-year-olds, it is more appropriate for 3- to 6-year-olds. The illustrations are big, bright, and colorful. Charlie�s want of the creature comforts of his home vs. the attention of Hollywood make a good point that sometimes simple things are the best. Reviewer: Patrick Hunter
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1- When a shocked Sophie finds that Charlie, her guinea pig, has escaped from his cage, she's unaware that the errant rodent has decided to make his fame and fortune in Hollywood. He flies cross-country first class, gets a part in a movie, and begins to lead the glamorous life of a star. Before long, though, he realizes that the glitz isn't for him and, homesick, he returns to his family. In this classic tale of the allure of bright lights, the sassy little rodent has chutzpah to spare. The candy-colored illustrations are lighthearted and have a sure, "stop action" frenzy; funny bits are woven into each spread, featuring the diminutive guinea pig amid the over-the-top splendor of a star's world. Adults may appreciate the situation and corny climax far more than children. Still, Charlie's insouciance may draw youngsters to this slight tale.-Marge Loch-Wouters, Menasha Public Library, WI Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews - Kirkus Reviews
What's a guinea pig with dreams of movie stardom to do? If it's Charlie, Sophie's pet, he sneaks away from the human family's home and heads off to Hollywood. People understand his speech and he is able to hail cabs and be dressed by the snazziest designers. (Clearly a strong suspension of disbelief is required.) In order to get the starring role in a Beauty and the Beast-type film he dyes himself dark brown (all the better to be small, dark and handsome, you see). Charlie is feted and fawned over by the humorously drawn sycophantic Hollywood crowd yet finds himself feeling lonely and dissatisfied. Now what's a homesick guinea pig to do? Hop a plane back to young Sophie, of course. Brunkus, the illustrator of the popular Junie B. Jones series, adds a great deal to the silly text via her funny, colorful and enlightening drawings. Easily conveying Charlie's hubris followed by his attainment of just a little bit of humility, Brunkus is the strength of this slight picture book. The moral of the story? Even for ambitious guinea pigs, there really is no place like home. (Picture book. 4-7)