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#01 Hamster and Cheese (Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye 1: Hamster and Cheese Paperback – April, 2010

13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Children will love Sasspants, a guinea pig who reads in her pet-shop cage using a thimble recycled as a reading lamp. She is the only animal properly identified because she's made her own sign using tiles. When the "G" at the end of "PIG" falls off, Hamisher the hamster mistakes Sasspants for a private investigator ("PI"), and enlists her help to find who's stealing Mr. Venezi's sandwiches. So begins this humorous mystery. Children who are just beginning to read graphic novels independently will enjoy solving the case with Sasspants. The full-color cartoons enhance the comic appeal. Two funny informational pages about the pet store denizens follow the story.—Marilyn Ackerman, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.

From Booklist

Who is stealing Mr. Venezi’s sandwiches? The befuddled pet-shop owner misidentifies the store’s animals, leading the hamsters to think they’re koalas. In this first book in the Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye graphic-novel series, Hamisher the koala-hamster thinks Sasspants the guinea pig is a private investigator because the second G on her cage’s sign has fallen off, so he asks her to investigate. They travel through the pet shop, questioning the various animal suspects (rabbits, a snake, a parrot), and Sasspants decides to set a trap for the thief by disguising the shop’s turtle as a sandwich. Grumpy Sasspants, hyper Hamisher, creepy Gerry the snake, the goldfish (whom Mr. Venezi calls kangaroos), and the other animals all have distinctive personalities. Young readers will appreciate the zaniness of the pet shop and the fun mystery, and Yue’s colorful art uses a straightforward panel design that’s easy to follow. The book includes fun facts about snakes and other animals Mr. Venezi thinks he has. Grades 1-3. --Kat Kan

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Series: Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 46 pages
  • Publisher: Graphic Universe (April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761354794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761354796
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 7.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I grew up in the trees of Walden, New York....well, not very high up the trees, since I always got scared, but I did carve my name in a lot of low hanging boughs. I had an older sister, a dog, a cat, a million fish, and an imaginary pet hamster named, yup you guessed it, Hamisher. Why have an imaginary friend when you can have an imaginary friend that can fit in your pocket! I went to Wagner College and double majored in English and Studio Art, winning the award of "biggest dork" (aka first in my class) and writing plays which went on to be produced Off-Off-Broadway. My whole life I always loved reading comics--Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, and I wore out my copy of the Muppets: Short, Green and Handsome--but it wasn't until I started to get into webcomics that I also fell in love with the idea of writing comics. Now my day job is designing graphic novels for First Second Books and my night job is writing graphic novels about a not-so-imaginary-anymore hyperactive hamster named Hamisher. The world is a very lovely place.

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 28, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book stars a guinea pig by the name of Sasspants.

There. I've just told you everything you need to know to enjoy it. No need to thank me. Unfortunately, I have the creeping suspicion in the back of my medulla oblongata that there may be folks out there for whom "Sasspants"-monikered rodentia is not enough. Perhaps you are wondering what else there is to find in this bite-sized graphic novel. It's a slight little thing, after all. Coming in at a mere 48 pages you might be inclined to take it for a picture book or some such nonsense. Nonsense, I say, because this is a fantastic mystery rolled up in a small comic format. Cute as a button and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny too. Sometimes the best discoveries come in the smallest packages. And did I mention the guinea pig was named Sasspants? I did? Hm. Moving on.

The place: Mr. Venezi's Pets & Stuff. The time: late afternoon. The crime: Petshop owner and general bonehead Mr. Venezi has discovered that his sandwich disappeared during lunchtime and he blames his koalas (they're actually hamsters but Mr. Venezi isn't exactly a pro at the whole identifying-the-pets-you're-selling thing). If the sandwich disappears one more time then that's it for the "koalas". So when Hamisher the hamster sees that there's a resident Guinea PI in the shop (the "G" has fallen off her sign) he decides to hire guinea pig Sasspants to solve the crime. Sasspants, for her part, would like nothing better than to be left alone, but that's not going to happen as long as Hamisher's around. They strike up a deal: Sasspants will solve the mystery and Hamisher will leave her alone. What follows is a good old-fashioned mystery, complete with red herrings, false suspects, and the occasional sandwich-shaped turtle.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Nicola Mansfield on November 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Reason for Reading: Both books 1 & 2 are Cybils '10 nominees and as a panelist for Graphic Novels they are required reading for me.

This is absolutely adorable! The artwork is so cute and the animals have such personalities it was a joy to read. Elementaries are going to love this series. Sasspants PI inadvertently gets mistaken for a detective and the hamsters call on him to solve the case of the missing sandwiches. Every day the owner puts a sandwich near the hamster cage for his lunch and every day it disappears. He has said if it happens one more time he is going to get rid of them once and for all. Only the hamsters don't know what is happening as they can't stay awake and Sasspants takes the case to get the annoying hamster off his back. The owner is somewhat addlepated, having labeled the animal cages with all the wrong names: the hamsters are koalas, the mice are walruses, the chinchillas are camels and so on. But what really makes this so entertaining are the personalities of the animals. Sasspants is a reader who wants to be left alone, a take charge guy just to get everyone off his case. The goldfish are my favourite with their short term memories, they can hardly remember each others names long enough let alone have an intelligent conversation. Then the hamsters who spend most of their time sleeping except the one who has befriended Detective Pants and thinks they have become best buddies, though he does have a tendency to fall asleep frequently and also believes he may still be a koala like the sign says. The last pages include an article on a non-fiction topic relevant to the story, this time explaining how a snake can eat something four times the size of its mouth and a last page telling the differences between what the owner labeled the animals and what they really are. Adorable!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GraphicNovelReporter.com on June 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
Kids love a book filled with mistakes--silly, obvious mistakes that they can point out themselves. It leaves them giggling every time.

Hamster and Cheese is that book.

The setting is a wacky pet shop with a not-too-bright owner who has mislabeled all the animals: The hamster thinks he is a koala, the snake is in a cage labeled "llama," and so on. The guinea pig has taken matters into his own hands by spelling out his proper name in Scrabble tiles, but when the final "g" falls off his name, rendering it "GUINEA PI," an enterprising koala--er, hamster--hires him as a private investigator.

Hamisher the hamster's problem is that he has been unjustly accused of theft: Every day, the store owner puts his sandwich in front of the hamsters' cage, and every day, the sandwich disappears. Now the owner is threatening to make the hamsters disappear if it happens again.

Unfortunately, the other animals aren't much help--the rabbits are too busy primping, the turtle is reliving his glory days in minor-league baseball, and the fish are incredibly dumb. Incredibly, hilariously dumb. So dumb that they mistake the sandwich for the sandwich thief, and they keep getting distracted by the other fish that mimic their actions (who are actually their reflections). The animals squabble among themselves, but when it looks like a little boy may buy one of the rabbits, they work together, squirting water from across the room to make him think the rabbit peed on him. (This is one of a few mild potty jokes in the book.)

Stephanie Yue's art really brings the story to life, although her choice of relatively muted colors helps keep it from being too hyper.
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