Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hot Rod Hamster

Title: Hot Rod Hamster
Category: Picture Book
Grades: 4-6 years
Author: Cynthia Lord
Illustrator: Derek Anderson
Publisher: Scholastic
Date: 2010

In spite of its short, rhymed text, the vocabulary, highly detailed illustrations and more complex dual story line make this book definitely a higher level read and perfect for kindergarteners.  The story follows a hamster as he and his bulldog friend build a hotrod for the upcoming race.  Although the hamster is the smallest entry in the race, he wins handily.  The main text on each page focuses on one aspect of the car or the race, offers several options in rhyme and asks which the reader would choose.  Meanwhile, the hamster and his friend discuss the car in speech bubbles in the background, focused on burning rubber and tearing up the racetrack. 

Kindergarteners, particularly those with some experience with cars, will enjoy this fast-pace racing book.  The dual plot will provide them with a higher level of detail and vocabulary, and the spunky little hamster is sure to make them smile.  The illustrations are extremely cute, but also full of detail and highly saturated with a warm, bright palette.  The cover is embossed with metal accents and raised title letters.  The illustrations add to the story and will captivate young readers with their humor and rich detail.  They will enjoy interacting with the stories and selecting their own choices for the car as the story progresses.  The rhyme scheme and repetitive word pattern will help emerging readers begin to process some of the text on their own.


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