by Dietlof Reiche
Cute book about a golden hamster with high ambitions. Freddy is born in a crowded pet shop cage. He doesn\’t like tussling with the other hamsters (contests of strength) and questions the matriarch\’s tales of a promised land of Assyria (where golden hamsters originated). He wants to get out of the cage and find a better life, so is thrilled to finally be bought as a pet for a little girl. The move into a new home is stressful for Freddy, but he soon overcomes his fears and starts observing. From watching the little girl do homework he learns to read (quickly surpassing her skills) and he also figures out how to open his cage and roam the house. This is not without danger. The Mom (presented as a really negative character) turns out to be allergic to hamsters, so Freddy ends up in a different household where he must confront a very self-assured cat and two nutty guinea pigs who like to crack jokes at his expense. Freddy despises them, but must enlist their help if he is to follow his dreams- to improve his reading skills, and learn to write. He wants to communicate with his human captors, although the cat warns against this. It\’s a fun look at things from a hamster\’s perspective (sensitive to smells, passionate about mealworms, proud of his clean and tidy habits) with an engaging story that actually surprised me a few times.
Rating: 3/5 203 pages, 1998