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The Great Hamster Massacre

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Overview

Anna and her brother, Tom, have always wanted a pet. And after their latest pestering campaign, their mother finally gives in and lets them choose a pair of hamsters from the local pet shop. But their happiness soon turns to horror when the hamsters are found mysteriously dead in their cage. Anna and Tom launch a full-scale investigation to determine who—or what—is behind the hamster homicides. Can they solve the case of the Great Hamster Massacre?

Katie Davies’ irresistibly ...

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The Great Hamster Massacre

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Overview

Anna and her brother, Tom, have always wanted a pet. And after their latest pestering campaign, their mother finally gives in and lets them choose a pair of hamsters from the local pet shop. But their happiness soon turns to horror when the hamsters are found mysteriously dead in their cage. Anna and Tom launch a full-scale investigation to determine who—or what—is behind the hamster homicides. Can they solve the case of the Great Hamster Massacre?

Katie Davies’ irresistibly funny mystery and Hanna Shaw’s spot-on illustrations combine for a quirky, delightful read that is part detective tale, part diary, and altogether hilarious.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

After their beloved pets are found mysteriously dead, Anna and Tom vow to discover the perpetrators of the great hamster massacre. To solve the ever-deepening case of these untimely demises, the sister-and-brother sleuths launch a full-scale investigation that even includes a penetrating interrogation of their curmudgeon next-door neighbor. One online reviewer called this prize-winning book "fast-paced, fun, and informative."

Publishers Weekly
In this flippantly twisted debut, first published in the U.K., nine-year-old Anna relays quite the tale of woe. Her easygoing cat was run over by a car, and the bad-natured New Cat literally scares a friend's pet rabbit to death. The cat is "Reason Number One" that Anna's mother (who previously owned two hamsters that met outlandish demises) refuses to let Anna and her younger brother, Tom, get a hamster, believing that it couldn't possibly survive. But after Anna's grandmother dies, her mother relents and buys a pair of hamsters. Not surprisingly, these animals soon suffer misfortune: Anna and Tom discover the hamster's eight newborn offspring dead in their bloodied cage; one of the hamster parents has disappeared, and the other is missing a leg (and eventually dies). Alas, the kids' bumbling investigation turns up no culprits. Despite its grisly subject matter, the novel is genuinely funny, largely due to Anna's refreshing spontaneity, wry observations, and matter-of-fact attitude. Shaw's droll pictures also buoy the saga, which continues with The Great Rabbit Rescue, out in December. Ages 8–12. (May)
From the Publisher
"Inspired use of simple words, straightforward syntax and effective repetition make this a top pick for slow or reluctant readers...Under the plot’s frothy surface lie serious depths...An auspicious debut."—Kirkus Reviews

"A flippy, fun and extremely fast-paced journey into the world of a very likable brother and sister—and their amusing family and friends. Intermittent silly pencil sketches fill the pages diary-style, creating a whimsical mood and adding comic relief.... Giggles are frequent among the kids in this book, and they will infect readers as well."
BookPage, May 2011

"This British import is an interesting mix of British humor with serious issues interspersed.
Whimsical, cartoonish pen-and-ink illustrations accompany the story and help lighten the seriousness....This is the first in a series that will appeal to fans of Roald Dahl and Dick King-Smith."

Booklist, July 1, 2011

"For young readers who can handle a bit of the macabre with their giggles, this strange little tale will be perfectly appealing."

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 2011

"An interesting take on how children deal with grief and shock.... Anna’s voice is engaging, and portrayals of various pets and neighbors (with accompanying hand-drawn side notes and cartoons) will entertain...give this dark comedy to reluctant readers, mystery lovers, and fans of narrator-illustrated fare like Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books or Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (2010, both Abrams)."

School Library Journal, September 2011

Children's Literature - Margaret Orto
The packaging for this book is misleading. The back cover copy and illustrations suggest a comedic romp into the lives of fourth grader Anna and her younger brother, Tom, as they deal with the acquisition and then mysterious deaths of pet hamsters. But there is a darker side to this story only hinted at through the use of "massacre" in the title. The realistic and gritty story line, among other things, deals with several deaths including an old cat, a beloved grandmother, and several hamsters that die in a rather gruesome manner. For children who like their humor with a dose of gore, this story will appeal; those with gentler constitutions will find it disturbing. Anna's deadpan first person offers a nine-year-olds' keen understanding of the foibles of parents—hers and her friend Suzanne's. While this wit, often of the bathroom variety, works for the most part, at times it digresses unnecessarily. Does the reader need to know that Suzanne's father suffers from piles and spends a fair amount of time on the toilet? Quirky older-adult characters, in contrast to the parents, add an enjoyable, off-beat humor to the tale. Anna's sometimes rocky friendship with Suzanne is well-portrayed and realistic. Straightforward syntax and words work well for reluctant readers as does the notebook/diary style format and the whimsical illustrations. An excerpt from a sequel involving a rabbit rescue with the same characters—Anna, Tom, Suzanne and Joe-down-the-street—is included at the back. Reviewer: Margaret Orto
Kirkus Reviews

Fans of Ivy and Bean will enjoy meeting their counterparts across the Pond: best friends and next-door neighbors Anna and Suzanne. Together, the girls sow happy chaos in their English village, along with Anna's little brother, Tom, Joe-down-the-street and assorted human and animal enablers. Anna, the narrator, has her heart set on a new pet. Their current one, New Cat, acquired to replace the more accommodating Old Cat (victim of a sad mishap), is fierce and unfriendly (handlers are advised to wear gardening gloves). A successful wheedling campaign and coincidental sad family event produce results: two hamsters, both certified (wrongly) as female. Ere long, a blessed event ensues. Like life, novels unfold while the characters—Anna, in this case—are busy making plans, and Anna's fountain of ideas convincingly tracks the busy 9-year-old mind down to the smallest, delightful detail. Inspired use of simple words, straightforward syntax and effective repetition make this a top pick for slow or reluctant readers. The art is clever, but the cartoonish style with limited affect might mislead readers expecting a Captain Underpants experience. Be warned: Under the plot's frothy surface lie serious depths (hint: Look at the title). An auspicious debut, with a sequel (The Great Rabbit Rescue) waiting in the wings.(Fiction. 8-12)

School Library Journal
Gr 3–4—This British import addresses a truly dreadful phenomenon that many young pet owners are nonetheless familiar with: the death-by-parent of a litter of newborn hamsters. Although nine-year-old Anna desperately wants a hamster, her mother refuses. However, after a death in the family, she relents, and Anna and her brother, Tom, become the owners of what they believe to be two female hamsters. After Hamster Number One surprises the family by giving birth to eight babies, Anna is shocked to visit the cage in the morning to find the babies dead and Hamster Number Two missing. Instead of admitting the obvious, she decides to find the killer and bring him or her to justice. With the help of Tom, her friend Suzanne, and the advice of a neighbor "who used to be in the police," Anna questions her friends, family, and neighbors about their whereabouts and motives regarding the creatures. What follows is an interesting take on how children deal with grief and shock, with a refreshing lack of condescension toward Anna, and by extension, young readers. Although the case is never conclusively solved, most readers won't mind. Anna's voice is engaging, and portrayals of various pets and neighbors (with accompanying hand-drawn side notes and cartoons) will entertain more than the mystery itself. One warning: some children may have a hard time with this book, which chronicles up to 15 pet deaths, including the hamsters. With that in mind, give this dark comedy to reluctant readers, mystery lovers, and fans of narrator-illustrated fare like Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books or Tom Angleberger's The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (2010, both Abrams).—Heather Talty, formerly at Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School, New York City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442420625
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Series: Great Critter Capers Series
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 982,143
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Katie Davies knows a thing or two about animal disasters. She is the author of The Great Dog Disaster, The Great Cat Conspiracy, The Great Rabbit Rescue, and her first book, The Great Hamster Massacre, which was inspired by true events—when she was twelve years old, after a relentless begging campaign, she was given two Russian Dwarf hamsters for Christmas. She has yet to recover from what happened to those hamsters. Katie lives with her family in North London. Visit her at KatieDaviesBooks.com.

Hannah Shaw was born into a large family of sprout-munching vegetarians. She lives in a little cottage in the Cotswolds with her husband, Ben the blacksmith, and her rescue dog, Ren. She finds that her overactive imagination fuels new ideas, but unfortunately it keeps her awake at night!

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1
What a Massacre Is

This is a story about me, and Tom, and our Investigation into the Hamster Massacre. I’m supposed to be writing my What-I-Did-On-My-Summer-Vacation story for school, but I’m going to write this story first because you should always write a Real Investigation up straight away. That’s what my friend Suzanne says. And Suzanne knows everything about Real Investigations. Mom said she didn’t think my teacher would like the story of my real summer vacation, and how the Hamster Massacre happened. She said, “Anna (that’s my name), some nice things must have happened this summer and if you can’t remember any, you can make some nice things up, and put them in your vacation report instead.”

Mom doesn’t think it matters if my Vacation Report isn’t exactly true, but Graham Roberts got in trouble last year when he put that he spent the whole vacation in the dog bed. His dog had died, so maybe he did stay in the dog bed all vacation, but Mrs. Peters said he must have come out to eat and go to the bathroom and things like that, and Joe-down-the-street told Tom he saw Graham at Scouts. And you can’t be in a dog bed there.

Tom is my little brother. I’ve got another brother too, and a sister, but they’re older than me and Tom and they don’t really care about hamsters much, so they’re not in this story. Tom is four years younger than me, except for a little while every year after he has his birthday, and before I have mine, when he is only three years younger. But most of the time he’s four years younger, so it’s best to say that.

Anyway, me and Tom are not supposed to talk about the hamsters and what happened to them anymore because it’s best to try to forget about it all, and stop exaggerating, and making it worse than it actually was, and all that. But we couldn’t do that anyway because massacres can’t really get any worse than they are. That is the point of them. This is what it says about massacres in my dictionary.…

massacre [mass-a-ker]noun a general slaughter of persons or animals: “the massacre of millions during the war”

The dictionary in Suzanne’s house said you could have another kind of massacre. It said …

massacre [mass-a-ker ]informal a bad defeat, especially in sports: “England was massacred 5–0 by France in the semifinal”

But the Hamster Massacre was not that kind of massacre. The Hamster Massacre was definitely a formal kind of massacre.

I will keep the story of the Hamster Massacre in the shed with the worms and the wasp trap and the pictures that we traced from Joe-down-the-street’s Mom’s book. Me and Suzanne have made a lock for the shed door, and we’ve got a new password. We are the only ones allowed in the shed, except when we let Tom in, but he gets bored when we are making the locks and deciding on the passwords and stuff, and he is too little for the pictures from Joe’s Mom’s book, so most of the time, when we go in the shed, Tom goes in the house and has a cookie.

© 2010 Katic Davics

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(5)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Awesome

    This book is funny!

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2012

    Good

    This book was great. Despite the occasional run on sentence, it was very enjoyable. I docked one point for the ending though. I mean, eho writes a mystery story with a problem that never gets solved? Other than that I loved it!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2013

    Wow

    This book is recomened please at least sample it is a good book and remember dont jugde a book by its cover!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    B

    WORST ENDING EVER. I HATE I.


    -100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 stars.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Hi

    I heard that a dad hamster might kill the mom hamster and both parents might kill the babies.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    This book is ok

    I like this book exept for the fact that they dont figure out who did the crime wich im not giving away

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2014

    Eh...

    It was okay. Very depressing at times, and the mystery was never solved.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    The darn good book

    Good book dude.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2012

    To Leo

    Im locked out

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Sorry

    Sorry i'll tell my daddy that

    0 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2011

    Person

    I h

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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