Hot Rod Hamster Reviews

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From Kirkus Reviews
There’s a hot-rod race at 4 Paws Speedway, and Hamster has a need for speed. He heads out to One Dog’s Junk for some help building the perfect hot rod. “Old car, new car, shiny painted blue car, / Rust car, clean car, itty-bitty green car. / Which would you choose?” He gets to pick his wheels, his engine and his painted-flame design, too. Dog and his mechanic mice build Hamster’s hot rod to specs. Though his competitors are skeptical—“Stare face, scowl face, frowning grouchy-growl face, / Bored face, dare face, nose up in the air face”—readers will guess the outcome of Hamster’s big day at the races. Newbery Honor author Lord’s picture-book debut is a rollicking, roaring read. In addition to the rhymed text punctuated by questions, the characters talk in speech balloons that move the story along without breaking the flow. Anderson’s fluffy, jaunty illustrations are as full of energy as the rhymes. Young car enthusiasts won’t be the only ones enamored of this hot-rodding rodent and his big canine buddy. (Picture book. 2-7)


From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Kids will be in the driver's seat, bonding with the hot-rod hamster as he sallies forth into a bulldog's junkyard to put together his very own race car. It's a dog's race, though, and children will sympathize with the small creature's struggle to compete with bigger, gruffer opponents and cheer him on to the finish line. Close-ups of the mud-streaked track in the bold-stroked, textured acrylics allow readers to see the competition at eye-level with the hamster (and axis-level with the other contenders). But the action builds up even before the engines start, and young readers will love helping the irrepressible hamster build his dream car. Their hands will dart up immediately when they hear the refrain, "Which one would you choose?" illustrated with comic-style illustrations of the myriad choices of cars, tires, parts, and flames, and they'll become hot-rod designers along with Hamster. If Bob Kolar's Racer Dogs (Dutton) or Brian Floca's The Racecar Alphabet (S & S, both 2003) are worn, torn, and vroom-vroomed in your library, add this one to the lot.—Sara Paulson-Yarovoy, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City


From Booklist
Junior racing fans will get a vicarious thrill with this story of a tiny driver who dares to burn rubber with the big boys. The story has two halves: the construction of the hot rod and the big race. The hamster—a tiny orange puffball usually found levitating with glee and shouting stuff like “Now I’m ready to ROLL!”—begins at the local scrap heap, where a junkyard dog (and his staff of rats) assists in constructing the perfect racer. The rhyming scheme is consistent: “Old car, new car, shiny painted blue car; / Rust car, clean car, itty-bitty green car.” Then the text involves the reader: “Which would you choose?” Usually the right answer can be sussed out; for example, that green car is just the size for a three-inch-tall driver. Once wheeled and oiled (and flame-painted, too), it’s off to the track, where the racing rodent wins and then has to make the toughest choice of all: which trophy to take. Anderson’s acrylics are boisterously large, colorful, and off-kilter—just like his swaggering protagonist. Preschool-Kindergarten.--Daniel Kraus


From Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
David meets Goliath in this spunky tale of race-track derring-do from Newbery Honor author Cynthia Lord. The action starts when a tiny hamster decides to enter a hot-rod competition against a field of bruising opponents, the only problem being that he has no wheels to satisfy his need for speed. An improvised rig cobbled together from abandoned wrecks "and supervised by an honest to goodness junkyard dog" gets the little guy on the right track, where he truly earns the moniker of Hot Rod Hamster. 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. --Nicholas A. Basbanes