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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Travels of an Extraordinary Hamster
by Astrid Desbordes
Age Range: 6-8
Readers may have first encountered Hamster in the delightfully entertaining Reflections of a Solitary Hamster. In this second book about Hamster, who lives in the clearing in the forest among his friends, Mole, Snail, Hedgehog, Rabbit, Bear and Squirrel, it follows the musings in his diary and his interaction with the other animals. Despite being incredibly selfish, greedy and vain, his friends accept him because they love him.
Hamster is determined to visit his cousins on the moon as he knows they must be eager to meet him and demands that his friend snail builds him a spaceship. When asked for his opinion on Mole’s attempt at writing a novel, Hamster is extremely dismissive and it is discovered discarded outside his house. When the group of friends decide to visit the North Pole, Hamster has to learn that not all trips go according to plan.
This graphic novel, written almost as a comic with its short chapters, amusing dialogue, translation that picks up beautifully the subtlety of Astrid Desbordes’ text and the charming and funny cartoon-like illustrations by Pauline Martin, ensure that it is just as entertaining as the first book by Desbordes and Martin. Each animal is perfectly represented, and the backgrounds are kept to a minimum, allowing the dialogue to take centre stage.