|Hamsters make terrible roommates|
Author: Klein, Cheryl B.
It's been two hundred and five days since Henry has had peace, because it's been two hundred and five days since Marvin has come to live with him. But when Henry finally loses his cool and gets exactly what he wanted, both hamsters have to figure out a way to live together and work through their communication mishaps.
Kirkus Reviews (07/01/21)
School Library Journal (10/01/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/07/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/01/2021 Broadly suggesting that if socialization can work for rodents, it can work for human cohabitants, too, Klein puts two hamsters—Marvin, a loud and extroverted babbler, and Henry, a retiring sort—in a cage and leaves them to sort out their differences. Henry lasts for 205 days until, unable to find even a moment’s solitude or peace, he, at last, explodes: “Just don’t talk! Go away! And LEAVE ME ALONE!” One blissfully quiet day later, Marvin sidles up to apologize for being obnoxious, Henry, in turn, apologizes for saying mean things, and the two work out mutually agreeable times to talk and to be silent. “It’s a beautiful morning. Day Two Hundred and Seven. It feels like our Day One.” In the cartoon illustrations, Alwar gives the odd couple (Marvin light of hue, Henry dark) anthropomorphic postures and expressions but depicts them as properly fuzzy and round, too, so the cuteness factor is preserved. It’s a natural for storytimes, what with all the rousing noise, the calming interval, the happy resolution—and, of course, hamsters. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2021 PreS-Gr 2—Brown hamster Henry and white hamster Marvin are here to show emerging readers all the reasons they are terrible roommates. With repetition and style, Klein's furry anti-hero Henry is fed up with Marvin's natural exuberance and daily good cheer. Marvin talks and demonstrates and engages with Henry all day long. In Alwar's comic illustrations, drawn to show the constant contrast between Marvin's antics and Henry's face, readers learn that our disgruntled narrator has questions: "He's always talking, while I'm nice. I don't bother him. Why won't he do the same for me?" It's the classic friction between introverts and extroverts, and Henry can't take it any longer. Exploding in anger at Marvin, he gets a day of peace and quiet, and witnessing Marvin's sad apology, at last has answers: "I like the quiet. But he didn't know that. He wanted me to talk. But I didn't see that. Maybe if we talk more, we can be quiet more too." With a palette that dynamically carries scenes from serene to anger-infused, the illustrations cue preschoolers into the underlying emotions behind the roommates' misunderstanding. It's funny, sincere, and teachable. VERDICT Hamsters may make terrible roommates, but Klein and Alwar give beginning readers the path to harmony through honest conversation and admitting wrongdoing.—Kimberly Olson Fakih, School Library Journal - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.