Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Small Readers: Hamster Holmes: A Mystery Comes Knocking by Albin Sadar, illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti

I bought this series for myself. I admit it. I mean, a hamster! Dressed as Sherlock Holmes! I had to have it. Ahem.

Hamster Holmes and his friend, firefly Dr. Watt (he communicates in Morse code) are settled cozily down one evening when their friend Corny O'Squirrel shows up with a mystery. Someone keeps knocking on his door...but there's nobody there! Hamster Holmes and Dr. Watt think over the problem and then try several methods until they have enough clues to come up with a solution to the mystery. Soon there's warm milk and new friends all around and Hamster Holmes is ready for his next mystery.

The pictures are cute and cozy, showing a plump-cheeked and smiling hamster zipping about his investigation with lots of furry animals and several amusing details; a hamster water bottle and hamster wheel in the park, There is a weird pink streak on two pages, which I think must be a printing error (my kids have been known to destroy books quite rapidly, but not that soon).

Ready-to-Read's level two is quite advanced and will need a fairly experienced beginning reader - one not quite ready for chapters, but getting close. The story contains short chapters, longer sentences, and some more complex vocabulary.

Verdict: Most kids are unlikely to get the Holmes references, but they will appreciate the funny details and enjoy the simple mystery. This is the age when kids start getting into mysteries and this is a good beginning mystery for them to start on.

ISBN: 9781481420372; Published 2015 by Simon Spotlight/Simon & Schuster; Purchased for the library

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