Hot Rod Hamster
Reviews, Reviews and More Reviews!

Greetings book lovers! There are so many critics and bloggers out there in this big, wide world weighing in on our favorite reads. We want to share some highlights from a few that have weighed in on Hot Rod Hamster over the past months...

Midwest Book Review:
Cynthia Lord's HOT ROD HAMSTER is an especially notable, recommended title spiced with gorgeous eye-catching drawings by Derek Anderson as it tells of a hamster's race to the finish line. "Which would you choose" offers kids interactive choices in the course of a zany story that's a top pick for any picturebook library.

Library Media Connection:
This book is a delight from beginning to end, with its rhythmic text, beautiful, color illustrations, and opportunities for reader involvement... Highly Recommended.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books:
...The robust solidity and touch of whimsy in the acrylic art gives the cartoonish style an endearing resemblance to the stop-motion animation work of Nick Park (creator of Wallace and Gromit); the compositions niftily employ perspectives that emphasize the size differences and deftly manage to keep the energy level high and the colors loud without descending into cacophony. Go, Dog, Go! is going down.

Bookends: A Booklist Blog:
...Between Lord’s child-centered fun text and Anderson’s perfectly jaunty illustrations (rats have never been more adorable), hamster is not the only winner here. Books like this make me long for my preschool storyhour days. I could build a whole program around this book and we’d all be drawing or making our own race cars by the end. Race out and get a copy of this and start your reading engines.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
Lord's rhythmic lines are short and punchy with just the right pace, while Derek Anderson's paintings are filled with color and fast-paced action -- all of it, of course, high octane.

The Wichita Eagle:
...Lord's quick, short rhymes introduce new words and capture the attention of even the youngest listener. "Smooth wheels, stud wheels, driving through the mud wheels . . ." She further engages the audience by asking, "Which would you choose?" Anderson's illustrations are a fury of full-color fun.

We've include links to each of the sources above. Just click on the name...

Read more:


Fun at the Target Book Festival!

It was a bright, sunny day at the Target Children's Book Festival in Hyland Lake Park here in the Twin Cities. There were books, authors, an excited crowd of listeners and all kinds of activities. Derek read his newest book Hot Rod Hamster and when he got to the race, he asked the audience to help him yell "GO!" If you live in Minnesota (and maybe even Wisconsin) and you heard the word "Go" echoing through the skies on Saturday afternoon, that was us. It was VERY loud.

Here are just a few pics from Derek's time on the stage...

Target Festival

Target Festival 3

Target Festival 2



HRH Cover

Derek to Read/Draw/Sign at the
Target Children's Book Festival
on Saturday, Sept. 11th

Derek will be doing a reading and drawing at the Target Children's Book Festival in Bloomington, Minnesota on Saturday, September 11th. We don't have a lot of details yet-- we know it will be held at Hyland Lake Park in Bloomington, MN and Derek is scheduled to go on stage at 2:55pm.

If you're looking for a fun time with your kids, stop by and say hello.

We'll post more details as soon as they become available.



HRH Jumping

Hot Rod Hamster Wins
A Parents' Choice Award!

Our hamster hero is so proud! He was just pleased to build a car and race against all those big dogs over at Four Paws Speedway. But now the fine folks at Parents' Choice Foundation have given him a huge reason to jump for joy! Hot Rod Hamster has been named a Parents' Choice Recommended Book in the Picture Books category!

In a terrific review, they call Hot Rod Hamster "A thoroughly fun and appealing ride." For the full review and to see the other award winners, click HERE.



Scholastic Catalog
Derek's New Book is on the Cover
of the Scholastic Spring Catalog!

The cover art for Derek's brand new book, Story County: Here We Come! is featured on the cover of the Scholastic Spring 2011 Catalog. This is a huge honor and Derek is eternally grateful to the amazing, talented, awesome folks at Scholastic for choosing his brand new book. As you can see, the art for Story County is a bit of a departure for Derek. He's moving in a fun, new, bold direction and this is the perfect way to introduce his new look. There will be so much more about that soon, but for now, pour yourself a glass of something yummy and help Derek celebrate this fun honor!



LQ Covers
Little Quack's Opposites and
Little Quack's ABC's
Are Officially Published!

Little Quack's Opposites and Little Quack's ABC's are now in stores! The third and fourth installments complete this new set of Little Quack books that follow Little Quack and his brothers and sisters, Widdle, Waddle, Piddle and Puddle on their journey to explore the world. All four books are published by Little Simon (an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing) in the Super Chubby Board Book edition and are just the right size for Little Quack's smallest fans.

Many thanks to Little Quack's many readers out there... keep reading!



Ballyhoo Cover

Ballyhoo Bay Wins!
Selected as One of Bank Street College's
BEST Children's Books of the Year!

The birds are flapping, the swordfish are splashing, the Octopus is jumping for joy! Ballyhoo Bay was selected by the terrific Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College of Education as one of the Best Books of the Year for five to nine year olds! Many thanks to Bank Street College for recognizing Ballyhoo Bay and it's fishy cast of characters!

Hooray for Ballyhoo Bay!



The Work of Young Artists

Derek always loves seeing the work of young artists. There are so many talented kids out there in the world that are creating beautiful works of art every day. Derek received three very special deliveries recently and wanted to share them with you.


LQ Drawing

Little Quack's Bedtime by McKenna Oldenburger

McKenna is nine years old and already showing obvious talent and attention to detail. Her rendering of the Little Quack's Bedtime cover is spot on. Not only did she capture Little Quack's sleepy state, but she included details that only an artist's eye would pick up. Notice the dark water over Little Quack's right shoulder- that shady area is hidden from the light of the moon by the reeds in the background. She even included the Scholastic logo, which tells us which cover, specifically, she was looking at. The Little Quack books are published by Simon & Schuster, however there are books out there with the Scholastic logo because they're sold through Scholastic Book Clubs. Bravo, McKenna and thank you for sending the drawing.


LQ Drawing

Hot Rod Hamster by Abigail Adams

Abigail is seven, a huge fan of books and has designed a spiffy new car for our hamster hero. Abigail's different shaped wheels shows great imagination. And we love her speedy lines shooting out the back- this is obviously a very fast car. Thanks Abigail!


HRH Drawing

Hot Rod Hamster by Jessie Adams

Jessie is three years old and is Abigail's younger sister. What a lovely piece! Jessie is already dabbling in abstract expressionism, an art movement made famous by Willem DeKooning. We love the suggestion of shapes here and the watery drips left by the artist. Are there, indeed, tires? Or did the artist want that left open to interpretation? Any time art makes you hover and look a little longer, it's a good thing. Thanks Jessie!





Hot Rod Hamster Makes's
2010 Summer Reading Picks
for Kindergartners!

We're revving our engines and squealing our wheels! Hot Rod Hamster is one of the 2010 Summer Reading Picks for Kindergartners by Hopping hamster thanks to the folks at!

Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Derek Anderson. Built for a need-for-speed, rough-and-tumble kind of kindergartner, this fast-paced car-racing tale will leave kids smiling from start to finish line. Filled with colorful illustrations and snappy writing, this junkyard Cinderella story about a hamster and his search for the perfect hot rod, will delight any Cars-obsessed, animal-loving kid. A smokin', souped-up story about burning rubber and the triumph of a little hamster underdog. (Scholastic)

Click HERE to visit and see the rest of their list.



Derek is in a Television Commercial?

Well, sort of. Last fall, Derek traveled back to his alma mater in Ames, Iowa to receive a very special award- the Outstanding Young Alumnus Award presented by the Iowa State University Alumni Association. While Derek was attending the awards luncheon, he was asked by a representative from the university if he would be willing to have a very brief version of his college experience featured in a commercial. Derek had a great experience at Iowa State, and is so pleased with what they put together.

Posted here for your viewing pleasure...