If you find your little ones are zooming around at home, you might want to try this picture book for a fun (if quick!) story time. Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord and illustrated by Derek Anderson tells the tale of a young ambitious hamster who wants to race with the big dogs, literally. He heads over to the junkyard where he finds a friendly bulldog and his rat assistance willing to help him choose a car, wheels, an engine, and a paint job to get ready for the big race. When the day arrives, will our hamster hero be able to compete with all the other big noisy race cars driven by scruffy looking and scary sounding dogs?
This story is told in rhythmic rhyming double lines on each open page, with either an addition in speech bubbles from the characters or a question to the listener of the story, forcing a fun interaction with the hamster’s choices for his hot rod each step of the way. You can almost hear the hamster’s squeaky little voice demanding more speed, tires that burn rubber, and a blazing hot paint job on his little car. The pictures are bright, painted with broad strokes and bring each unique character to life. The last choice of the book is which trophy to take home, naturally, but the answer may not be as predictable as the others in the book.
This title is not newly published but is newly available at the Port Library along with others in the Hot Rod Hamster series that have been recently published. Hot Rod Hamster: Monster Mania! covers monster trucks, while Hot Rod Hamster Meets His Match! is an early reader book with a new competitor for Hot Rod Hamster to race.
You can get the book reviewed here and more great titles to watch, read, listen to, or play with at the Port Library at 1718 N. Hersey in Beloit.