A Home for Hamtaro and Other Storiesby Ritsuko Kawai
I haven't seen the animated show this book corresponds to, but I have to say this volume is pretty darn cute. I did look at some of the animated clips on youtube, and I like the artwork in the book better. It has a soft, gentle feel, looks like it was all drawn with colored pencils.
So the book is about a hamster who finds a new home when he is given to a little girl as her birthday present. The separate stories are incredibly short- some a bare few pages long, and I often found myself wishing there was more to it. But I liked that part of the story always reflected real hamster behavior- Hamtaro feels upset when his cage is cleaned and his stash of food removed; he likes to hide in small places; he feels frustrated at being shut up in his cage. Other parts of the story showed Hamtaro and his little girl learning from each other; this I especially liked. When Hamtaro watches Yukari practice math with his sunflower seeds, it inspires him to solve his own problem when he can't fit a hamster biscuit through his doorway! Yukari sees Hamtaro trying to climb on the ceiling of his cage and is encouraged to try again at something she'd failed to do on the playground. My favorite was the page where the Hamtaro is roaming the house and starts digging tunnels in a potted plant! The last story especially disappointed me with its brevity: Yukari takes Hamtaro outside in her pocket. He chews a hole in the pocket and falls out. You'd expect all sorts of things to happen but no: he just runs and climbs up her legs, gets immediately rescued. O well. It's still cute enough I might look for the three other books in this series.
rating: 3/5 ........ 76 pages, 1997
the Kitsune's Den