The World According to Humphrey (Humphrey Series #1)

( 128 )

Overview

You can learn a lot about life by observing another species. That's whatHumphrey was told when he was first brought to Room 26. And boy, is it true! In addition to his classroom escapades, each weekend this amazing hamster gets to sleep over with a different student, like Lower-Your-Voice-A.J. and Speak-Up-Sayeh. Soon Humphrey learns to read, write, and even shoot rubber bands (only in self-defense, of course). Humphrey has friends, adventures, and a cage with a lock-thatdoesn't- lock. His life would be perfect, ...
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El Mundo de Acuerdo a Humphrey

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Overview

You can learn a lot about life by observing another species. That's whatHumphrey was told when he was first brought to Room 26. And boy, is it true! In addition to his classroom escapades, each weekend this amazing hamster gets to sleep over with a different student, like Lower-Your-Voice-A.J. and Speak-Up-Sayeh. Soon Humphrey learns to read, write, and even shoot rubber bands (only in self-defense, of course). Humphrey has friends, adventures, and a cage with a lock-thatdoesn't- lock. His life would be perfect, if only the teacher, Mrs. Brisbane, wasn't out to get him!
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"You can learn a lot if you stop spinning and start listening." Such is the deep moral for this breezy, well-crafted first novel, narrated by a hamster purchased by a substitute teacher for a middle-school classroom. Humphrey's heart feels broken when the substitute's stint is up ("I'm never going to squeak to her again," he laments)-and it doesn't help that the regular teacher hates "rodents." But the class parents and the Most Important Person at Longfellow School (the principal) hatch a plan: a different student will take Humphrey home each weekend. "It's a wonderful way to teach the kids responsibility," enthuses one mother, but Humphrey has his own ideas, believing it is up to him to help solve "his" students' problems. This cheerful set-up leads to a succession of sweet-natured encounters. For example, a stay with "Speak-Up-Sayeh" prompts the shy girl, who worries that others will laugh at her accent, to get her family to finally attempt some English ("No wonder Sayeh got 100% on all her vocabulary tests," says Humphrey with comic na vet when he hears them speaking a foreign language. "She and her family knew a lot more words than I did"). Humphrey's matter-of-fact, table-level view of the world is alternately silly and profound, and Birney (Tyrannosaurus Tex) captures his unique blend of innocence and earnestness from the start. Given the perky protagonist and chipper delivery, middle-grade readers are sure to savor this classroom caper. Ages 7-up. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Humphrey, resident class hamster, cleverly tells readers about his adventures in the classroom, in children's homes, and, finally, in understanding the seemingly austere Mrs. Brisbane. Humphrey, in the manner of Amos who accompanied Ben Franklin on his rounds, is a good observer both of humans and of cause and effect. In the course of the story, he helps the night custodian find a girlfriend by putting a clipping he has chewed from the newspaper on the overhead projector. He also assists Sayeh in overcoming her reluctance to speak out in class, and he helps her Indian parents practice English when he visits her house). He visits the principal's house where he guides noisy kids. While on another visit he helps a family turn off the TV (Humphrey unplugs it because his sleep patterns are being disrupted by all of the noise and distraction.). It is a funny, lively story with plenty of wordplay around the word "squeak" (squeak up, unsqueakably bad), and there's never a doubt that the hamster rules and all problems are solvable. Lovers of Beverly Cleary's "Ralph the Mouse" series will appreciate another similar story and advanced readers will gleefully recognize the passing reference to Brian Jacques' "Redwall" series that the teacher must be reading aloud to the class. While text is interspersed with facts from a hamster care book, it ends with Humphrey's "Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans," a pleasant symmetry. There's enough to discuss here that this book would make a good read aloud or a good choice for a small group, plus it would enliven the collection of talking animal stories so beloved by second graders on up. 2004, Putnam, Ages 7 to 11.
—Susan Hepler, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-A likable hamster narrates this novel for newly independent readers. A warmhearted substitute teacher brings Humphrey to Room 26, explaining, "You can learn a lot about yourself by taking care of another species." Unfortunately, when Mrs. Brisbane returns to school, she is less than enthusiastic about taking on a class pet, and is unaware of the impact that the hamster has on the students, as well as on the families with whom he spends his weekends. Humphrey manages to bring out hidden courage and kindness in those he visits. He helps the members of one family turn off the TV and rediscover the pleasure of one another's company; he encourages a shy girl to speak up; and he even helps the principal gain control over his own less-than-obedient offspring. Humphrey's unique opportunity to observe the students, both at school and at home, develops into a compelling picture of Room 26. The hamster's experiences at Mrs. Brisbane's house round out that portrait. Birney succeeds in developing the animal's character without the narrative becoming too cute or contrived. Humphrey's views underscore the importance of knowing the full story before making judgments, and his presence makes a positive difference in the lives of the people he meets. All in all, a winning book that will appeal to children who like tales about animals, school life, and friendship.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Humphrey's world consists of Room 26, an elementary classroom, and the children's homes he visits on weekends. Humphrey is wry-humored and big-hearted . . . for a hamster. He's also smart, having learned to spell in only a week, and has a propensity to repeat exclamations thrice, "Glad-glad-glad!" Everyone adores Humphrey except the teacher, Mrs. Brisbane, who vows to be rid of him. But Humphrey has a greenthumb when it comes to humans, and everyone with whom he has contact benefits from his helping hand. Humphrey assists a shy student in finding her voice, the lonely janitor in finding love, and even Mrs. Brisbane comes to understand that "you can learn a lot about yourself by taking care of another species." The story deftly avoids triteness while still feeling breezy and acknowledging deeply felt troubles, such as Mrs. Brisbane's husband's depression. The pet-care tips punctuating each chapter would benefit any youngster thinking about getting a hamster, but for everyone else, this read is simply good-good-good. (Fiction. 7-11)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780142403525
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/2005
  • Series: Humphrey Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 27,560
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Lexile: 670L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Betty G. Birney has won many awards for writing for television, including an Emmy, three Humanitas Prizes, and a Writers Guild of America Award, and she won the Christopher Award for Friendship According to Humphrey. In addition to the Humphrey series, she is the author of The Seven Wonders of Sassafrass Springs and The Princess and the Peabody's. She grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, where her parents grew up as neighbors on Humphrey Street. Her website, bettybirney.com, is full of fun Humphrey activities and information.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 128 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(100)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 128 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Great funny story for all ages!!!

    I read this with my 5th grader.We laughed and read this great book together!!Cant wait to read the next book in series!!

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Love

    I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS SERIES!!!!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    This 55 y/o Grandma loves Humphrey!

    My 8 year old granddaughter started reading the Humphrey books. I started to read the first one and could not stop. I have read them all. These are wonderful books!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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

    Posted December 25, 2012

    Great book!!!!!

    This book keeps you reading and reading. It shows moderen day life in a hamsters eyes. You would be suprised by what you learn from a little guy like Humphrey.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2012

    GREAT-GREAT-GREAT!bb

    GREAT-GREAT-GREAT!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2011

    What a charming and endearing book!

    I LOVED this book, not only is Humphrey one of the best characters in chapter books for younger students, but it is a wonderful book about the different personalities and families in a classroom. I highly recommend this book and the whole series for children and adults!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2012

    Loved

    It was a previous sunshine state 4 those sunny state readers it was an amazing book it was about Humphrey the class hamster but the teacher leaves and mrs brisbane is the new teacher she wants to get rid of Humphrey so he tries to be good also the kids get to take him home 4 the weekend and teaches the kids lessons like dont waste your life in front of a tv screen and dont be scared to show your voice mrs brisbane likes him at the end and they live happily ever after

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    ?

    If you don't like it you have the wrong book

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2012

    Great Book

    I would give it 5 paws up. The only disadvantage is it is i BIT short

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Humphrey's Happy Homes

    This was a true delight. Humphrey allowed us a peek into his world. He has some wonderful adventures and shares his insight about what he sees and learns. This book has an engaging storyline and enjoyable characters.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    I am hooked on this series

    Told from the point of view of the classroom hamster, very cute. My 4th grade son read this book to me for his home reading. Very entertaining to both of us.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2011

    EXCELLENT FUN READ!!

    It was really awesome!!!!!! I loved it because it was so funny and creative!!!!:)

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2008

    totaly awsome!

    this book is one of the best books i have ever read!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2006

    I read it 3 times already!

    I loved this book! I read it for a book report and liked it so much that I read it again and again! The story is told by the little hamster, Humphrey, who lives in a classroom. It's a fun book and easy to read because it's interesting.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2005

    so cute!!!!

    I think this book is really cute! I have a dog, four birds and alot of fish and now I want a hamster.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    I want to own this book!

    I am 9 years old and I love hamsters. This book was really cute. Humphrey is really lovable. I enjoyed reading this book so much that I want to own a copy for myself.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2014

    Bcnsjbdndbdjxne

    I love this book!!!! It is really really really good!!!!!!!! Humpheryis so funny and he is very curious. He solves mysterys!!! He also is a great classroom hamster!!!!! Also he and his friend Aldo are great buds!!!!!!he is a good pet and this book is really good!!!!!! I really recomend this book for animal/ adventure book!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2012

    My daughter loves this book.  She tells me different stories fro

    My daughter loves this book.  She tells me different stories from the book, and it cracks me up!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Humphrey my boy!

    You usually don't hear a hamster's point of view ,or just don't want to, that will change after you hear Humphrey.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2012

    Humphrey

    I think if kids like romance and kidness and usually pets they would probably love this book i gave this book to my daughter she read the series in 1-2 weeks she loved this series

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 128 Customer Reviews

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