I wanted to share some Chris van Allsburg stories with my class. He is one of my favourite authors. Children are mesmerised by his amazing stories! However, when I went to my local library I couldn't find any, except this one, which I had never seen before. It turns out my library is one that only has book published in the last five years....so oldies and goodies like Chris van Allsburg are off in other branches. I put a bunch on hold and took this one with me.
Sure enough, as we were reading it, everyone was totally captivated by the story. This one is different as most of the books of his that I've read are quite life-like. I hadn't pre-read it (you can always trust Chris Van Allsburg, right?!) and I was a little worried as the story wore on that perhaps he had some turn of heart and started writing stories with nasty endings! This one is about a hamster who goes through a series of less than caring owners. He goes from negligent child to negligent child. I was worried he'd end up dead. The children in my class had the same worry! Not only that, the name 'Sweetie Pie' seemed so out of character from his other books...it had me wondering!
In the end, he doesn't. Turns out he escapes his cage after being forgotten at a playground. He ends up living out his days amongst some squirrels like Stellaluna and the birds.
From two-time Caldecott winner Chris Van Allsburg, creator ofJumanji and The Polar Express, comes a poignant story of one hamster’s struggle with destiny. Being a pet store hamster isn’t much fun for Sweetie Pie, but life in human homes proves downright perilous. As Sweetie Pie longingly gazes out of his cage at the squirrels frolicking in the trees, he wonders if he’ll ever have the chance to feel the wind in his fur. Allsburg’s expressive, soft-hued illustrations artfully capture a hamster’s-eye view of the wide and wonderful world where maybe, just maybe, Sweetie Pie could someday run free.