________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 23 . . . . February 17, 2012


Hamsters Holding Hands.

Kass Reich.
Victoria, BC: Orca, 2012.
24 pp., board, $9.95.
ISBN 978-1-4598-0123-3.

Subject Heading:
Counting-Juvenile literature.

Preschool / Birth-age 3.

Review by Michelle Barry.

*** /4



One Hamster wants to play

Two hamsters shout hurray

Three hamsters with a pear

Four hamsters in the air.

Hamsters Holding Hands is an enjoyable counting book that introduces the early reader to the numbers one to ten in a simple rhyming format. The story follows one hamster that wishes to play and then is joined progressively by more little hamsters wishing to play till at last he has gathered nine other hamsters to play with. Each hamster that joins the group brings a new activity for the hamsters to participate in, such as jumping rope, playing with balloons, and getting tans.

     The words and rhymes used by the author are age appropriate, easy to understand and memorize for young children. This simple narrative can work both for and against the author depending on the child’s eagerness to learn the content. Once the book has been memorized, a child looking for stimulation in this book may find it no longer holds her/his interest and may discard it for another book since s/he already knows the content by heart.

      The illustrations are simply drawn and not overly fussy or detailed. The softened colours of the illustrations give the book a feeling that is soothing and not overbearing. Each number is prominently positioned on a page with a white background which makes it easy for a child to focus on and learn. Each hamster illustration accurately reflects the number on the facing page, and the activity used to introduce each number. The only illustrated detail that may cause some confusion in children is the pear for number three. The pear is approximately the same size and shape as the hamsters. The reader may have difficulty when the child counts four hamsters instead of three as children of this age may not be able to differentiate the pear from the hamsters just based on size association.

      Hamsters Holding Hands is a cheerful little counting book that both parents and children will find a fun and simple introduction to counting from one to ten. Each hamster filled page offers rhymes and activities that are easy to vocally embellish or mime for the enjoyment of both parent and child.


Michelle Barry is a freelance writer and Internet researcher who lives in Bradford, ON. She is a proud mother of a delightful two year old daughter.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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