Hamster Magic

Hamster Magic

4.3 30
by Lynne Jonell, Brandon Dorman
     
 

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Lynne Jonell, the popular author of Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, makes her Stepping Stones debut with a high-spirited tale of mixed-up magic and wishes gone wrong.

Celia Willow is the baby of the family, and she’s sick of it. She's sick of being younger and smaller. She's sick of never being taken seriously. So when Celia's hamster

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Overview

Lynne Jonell, the popular author of Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat, makes her Stepping Stones debut with a high-spirited tale of mixed-up magic and wishes gone wrong.

Celia Willow is the baby of the family, and she’s sick of it. She's sick of being younger and smaller. She's sick of never being taken seriously. So when Celia's hamster surprises the Willows with his wish-granting powers, she blurts out her deepest desire.
The problem? Celia didn't exactly wish to be furry.
Her big brothers and sister can't let their parents see her like this, but they only have one night to fix things. How can Abner, Tate, and Derek reverse something as powerful as hamster magic . . . before breakfast?

Hamster Magic is on the Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist for 2012-2013 and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, January 2011:
 
"Having just moved into an old house in the country, siblings Abner, Tate, Derek, and Celia Willow find a hamster in the basement, whom they stick in their former hamster’s cage and name Hammy. Hammy is no ordinary hamster: not only can he talk, he can grant wishes. Of course, magic’s always a dangerous thing in the hands of the unaccustomed, and little Celia’s wish to be big goes awry, turning her into a gigantic hamster and leaving Hammy all out of magic. The four kids (three kids and one giant hamster, actually), hoping to de-hamsterize Celia, venture out into the night to meet the Great Hamster. It’s an unusual premise, to be sure, but there is something both appealing and remarkably nostalgic in this furry tale of cooperation among siblings and magical animals interacting with the human world. At the core of the slim novel is the relationship of the four siblings; even the Great Hamster commends them on being such supportive “litter-mates.” Fans of animal fiction will revel in Celia’s nighttime antics, as she is unable to stop herself from acting like a hamster, running like mad, performing acrobatics, and gnawing everything in site. Dorman’s black-and-white illustrations, partnering sturdy lines with soft gray shading, provide abundant imagery for the nocturnal adventures, and his girl-turned-hamster has a remarkably endearing expression. This is a sweet, simple narrative that will appeal to fans of Marion Dane Bauer and those who like their animal tales with a touch of magic." HM

Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
The four Willow children are still exploring the large three-story house they have moved into for the coming year. They are happy to find a hamster in the corner of the closet. They name him Hammy III and place him in the cage previously occupied by Hammys I and II. But this hamster is no Hammy. He has magical powers; he can grant wishes; and he can talk in English. When Cecilia the youngest child wishes she were bigger. She instantly becomes a large hamster. Most of the story is centered around the efforts of her sister and brothers to find the Great Hamster and get the wish reversed. Their adventures occur outside near the river and continue throughout the night. In the morning Cecilia returns to her original self just in time. The parents never know what happened. An amusing beginning chapter book for emerging readers. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—The Willow family has just moved into a rickety old house, and Abner, Tate, Derek, and Celia have made an incredible discovery: their pet hamster has the ability to grant wishes. Celia, frustrated with her status as the youngest, accidentally blurts out her wish—to be bigger. While she is envisioning being a bigger person, Hammy the Third actually turns her into a huge hamster. Now the children must figure out how to reverse this wayward wish before their parents find out—and they must do it before the sun comes up. Written for readers who are just beginning to tackle chapter books, this title may find an audience with those who fancy hamsters or who have them as pets. Other readers may find little else to draw them into the story. Besides the somewhat ridiculous premise, another flaw is that the origin of "hamster magic" is barely explained—supposedly burrowing animals will accrue it the more time they spend underground. When Hammy the Third doesn't have enough magic on his own to reverse Celia's wish, all the burrowing animals band together to transform her back into a little girl. It's this deus-ex-machina approach to conflict resolution that makes the story hard to swallow. Black-and-white cartoon illustrations add some charm and help readers to visualize the characters, but they don't save this title from being a marginal purchase, at best.—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375866166
Publisher:
Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
01/10/2012
Series:
A Stepping Stone Book(TM) Series
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
378,259
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.40(d)
Lexile:
620L (what's this?)
Age Range:
6 - 9 Years

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