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The Great Hamster Massacre (The Great Critter Capers) Hardcover – May 3, 2011

30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Inspired use of simple words, straightforward syntax and effective repetition make this a top pick for slow or reluctant readers...Under the plot’s frothy surface lie serious depths...An auspicious debut."--Kirkus Reviews

"A flippy, fun and extremely fast-paced journey into the world of a very likable brother and sister--and their amusing family and friends. Intermittent silly pencil sketches fill the pages diary-style, creating a whimsical mood and adding comic relief.... Giggles are frequent among the kids in this book, and they will infect readers as well."
--BookPage, May 2011

"This British import is an interesting mix of British humor with serious issues interspersed.
Whimsical, cartoonish pen-and-ink illustrations accompany the story and help lighten the seriousness....This is the first in a series that will appeal to fans of Roald Dahl and Dick King-Smith."

--Booklist, July 1, 2011

"For young readers who can handle a bit of the macabre with their giggles, this strange little tale will be perfectly appealing."

--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, July/August 2011

"An interesting take on how children deal with grief and shock.... Anna’s voice is engaging, and portrayals of various pets and neighbors (with accompanying hand-drawn side notes and cartoons) will entertain...give this dark comedy to reluctant readers, mystery lovers, and fans of narrator-illustrated fare like Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” books or Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (2010, both Abrams)."

--School Library Journal, September 2011

About the Author

Katie Davies knows a thing or two about animal disasters. She is the author of The Great Dog Disaster, The Great Cat Conspiracy, The Great Rabbit Rescue, and her first book, The Great Hamster Massacre, which was inspired by true events—when she was twelve years old, after a relentless begging campaign, she was given two Russian Dwarf hamsters for Christmas. She has yet to recover from what happened to those hamsters. Katie lives with her family in North London. Visit her at KatieDaviesBooks.com.

Hannah Shaw was born into a large family of sprout-munching vegetarians. She lives in a little cottage in the Cotswolds with her husband, Ben the blacksmith, and her rescue dog, Ren. She finds that her overactive imagination fuels new ideas, but unfortunately it keeps her awake at night!
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 1000L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Great Critter Capers
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Beach Lane Books; Reprint edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442420626
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442420625
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Rachel McElhany VINE VOICE on September 11, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Anna is a nine-year old girl with a five-year old little brother named Tom. They both really want a hamster for a pet. Their parents have told them no multiple times but after Anna and Tom's grandmother dies, they give in and get her two Russian dwarf hamsters. Things are going great until one morning Anna wakes up to find one hamster wounded, one hamster missing and eight dead baby hamsters in the cage. Anna, Tom and their friend Suzanne launch an investigation to find out who massacred the hamsters.

I tried to read this book to my five-year old and seven-year old sons. It starts out very slow and has a few things that really disturbed my seven-year old - a hamster is cut in half by a sliding glass door and Anna and Tom's grandmother dies. There is also a discussion of church which mentions that some characters may "go to hell". My boys abandoned this book at Chapter 10. I went ahead and finished it by myself so I could write my review.

If you have sensitive children like I do, this book could be very disturbing for them. There is also some humor thrown in, I guess for adults reading it, that I found inappropriate. My boys don't let things go over their heads; they ask questions until they understand it. I don't want to have to explain why the girls stole a neighbor's book and read it secretly in the shed (it is implied that the book is an erotic romance book).

I would not recommend this book for most children.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Grace Ann Visnaw on June 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
I love the book because I love hamsters.
What I don't like about the book is that the baby hamsters get killed. It is really sad :( :( :( :( :( :(
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sunny Sewing Honeybee on June 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Nine-year-old Anna and her five-year-old brother Tom desperately want to have hamsters. Their mother is against the idea completely, but won't tell them why. Eventually, the children's grandmother explains that their mother feels that hamsters are bad news, due to a couple of deathly experiences she had with them. Beginning with Nana's tales, there are some topics that may be a bit difficult for young readers, especially the approximately dozen deaths, and an exhumation of a buried rabbit.

The word "and" is in the book so many times that it makes it almost painful to read. As an example, up to 17 paragraphs in a row begin with the word "and," and this does not include the "ands" included in each paragraph. Often, several sequential sentences began with the word "and."

The ultimate disappointment for readers, however, is that the book leads up to something that never really is fleshed out in full. Even a very significant loss in the children's lives is merely glossed over. Eventually, the children do get hamsters of their own, but the promised "massacre" doesn't occur until page 113, with the investigation not being launched until page 134. The suspects include a cat, a couple hamsters, and even their mother! This investigation's wrap-up, while I won't get into specifics, is ultimately very disappointing, while it could have and should have been one of the most fascinating parts of the book.

I really, really wanted to like this story--perhaps partially due to the charming illustrations. Anna's friendship with her best friend Suzanne is set up as an especially warm concept since they have a shared bedroom wall. Anna as the heroine is sweet, but spunky at the same time. Though well-meaning, she seems to end up bungling things, at least in the eyes of adults.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Hughes VINE VOICE on June 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm writing this review with/for my son who is 9 years old and in 4th grade.

I really enjoyed this book. The story is a funny murder-mystery. It's a fun story, and though it's long (176 pages), it kept me interested, and I read the book in 3 days. Some of the reviews wonder whether the story is appropriate for a 9 year old. I didn't think it was too gory. It was supposed to be sort of quirky and not taken too seriously.

Here's the story in a nutshell.

SPOILER ALERT: The story revolves around two kids who wanted a hamster. They begged their mom, but she resisted. They found out that their mom had a hamster when she was a kid, and it escaped. It was running around the room and she accidentally closed the sliding door on it, and it got cut in half. But, one day their grandma died, and she let them get two hamsters.

One day one of the hamsters had babies, but the babies were dead and the mother was hurt with a broken leg. The kids asked a neighbor, who was a former police officer, to investigate what happened to the hamsters. They narrowed their suspects to their cat, the other hamster, and a neighbor who recently ran over a neighbor's bunny. They concluded that it must have been the other hamster, when they discovered it escaped.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Armando N. Roman VINE VOICE on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
And by 'inspiring', I mean 'something that makes me want to finally get on with writing/illustrating kids books'.

When The Great Hamster Massacre first appeared on the Vine program a few months ago, I instantly requested it because of the title. This was a children's book? Really? After reading the first couple of chapters, which goes into the graphic deaths of one character's pet hamsters she had as a child, I couldn't figure out if this really was aimed at kids, or adults that have the mindset of young children. After all, this book uses the word 'and' as if it's going out of style, making me wonder if the author had a quota to meet when it came to the use of the word. While this book is told from the point of view of a young girl, it goes off track so often that the actual story could probably have been told in half as many pages, maybe even less.

I won't go into the plot much, since there isn't a lot to it, but Anna is a little girl who begs her mom to get her a pet hamster. After denying the request over and over, the mom finally gives in and lets her get two from the pet shop. Soon after, the hamsters are found [graphically] dead in their cage, and it's up to Anna and her brother to figure out who committed this crime. Will there be a resolution? 'long story short: no.

The Great Hamster Massacre actually irritated me while I was reading it. This is the kind of book that's so poorly written that it might lower your child's standards when they read it. Recommended for kids ages 8-12, this sure as heck wouldn't have been something I would've read as a kid. At age 9, my class was reading books by Roald Dahl and Bruce Coville. I can at least remember the majority of the books written by those two, regardless of how silly some of them were.
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