Sunday, October 28, 2007

Friendship According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

I recommend this book for: grades 2-5

Humphrey is the adorable, doted upon class pet of room 26. He also has a few special skills, such as the ability to read, write, understand human speech, and get out of his cage (which is probably the least amazing, as my hamster accomplished the same feat at least once a month when I was a kid . . . but I digress.) When Humphrey returns from winter vacation, there are a few surprises in store - there's a new girl in the class AND a new class pet! Og the frog seems pretty unfriendly, but Humphrey is determined to give being friends with him a try, despite his own jealousy at all the attention the newcomer receives. Humphrey also works hard to help his other, human friends in the class deal with their problems - a bully on the bus, a mean stepsister, and a fight between two best friends, among others.

This is a cute story - sometimes almost too cute. Humphrey's antics and narration are way over the top, but fun to read about, and he does a great job of explaining vocabulary like "psychology." One thing that bothered me is that I never found out what grade the children were in -although I didn't read the first book, so I may have missed it there. Those are minor complaints, though, and I will definitely be recommending this book to animal lovers and kids looking for something funny to read.

Did the pros like that hamster in the window?

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