I love this book. It appealed to me for the simple reason that not only was it about a hamster but it was written from the perspective of a hamster.
And not just any old hamster, either. Houdini is clever and he knows it – how many other self-educated hamsters with autobiographies do you know? Exactly.
The tales of his escapades are hilarious and the immense sense of adventure you get from seeing the world from his eye-view is incredible. Have you ever thought about what the inside of a piano must look like to someone as small as a hamster? Or how mystical ‘outside’ must look/smell?
It makes you look at the world a bit differently the whole time you are reading and opened my eyes to the idea of looking at things from a totally different perspective.
I have read and reread this book so many times I have lost count and it has been lent out to numerous friends over the years. I can’t wait to rediscover it with Tori and Arthur when they get a bit older, either. They have never had a hamster but they did have gerbils and they had a habit of escaping too!
I enjoy this book as much as an adult as I did as a child and Terry Riley’s illustrations are just gorgeous. They may be black and white illustrations but they are intricate and perfect and I can see them all in my head without even having to find the book because I have looked at them so much. My favourite one is depicting the ‘pipe incident’ – you will have to read the book to find out what that is all about though, because I don’t want to give it away.
If you have an animal mad person in your family and they haven’t read this book then I suggest getting them a copy, because it is awesome.
Much like Lynne Reid Banks’ other books which are basically all classics – The L-Shaped Room is another book that has stayed with me forever since I read it. I can’t quote lines out of many books, but I can that one. It broke my heart but was utterly brilliant.