Tuesday, 16 October 2012

My Hamster is a Genius

My Hamster is a Genius (Stinky and Jinks) My Hamster is a Genius (Stinky and Jinks) by David Lowe, illustrated by Mark Chambers (Lothian/Hachette)
PB RRP $12.99
ISBN: 9780734413437
Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

Benjamin Jinks is your average nine year old who plays tricks on his sister Susan, if, for example, sticky-taping her to the bed can be called a trick. His mum keeps dreaming up suitable punishments, and this time she decides he will learn to be responsible if he has a pet to care for.

Ignoring Ben's suggestions which include a Husky dog together with roller skates so he doesn't have to walk to school anymore, Mum buys him a hamster. Ben decides to call him Jasper Stinkybottom.

It isn't long before Ben discovers his hamster can talk. More than that, he is excellent at maths and other homework subjects. In exchange for keeping Stinky well fed on carrots and in a clean cage, Ben gets all the right answers much to the surprise of his nasty bearded teacher, "Beardy" McCreedy. Unfortunately Ben isn't nearly so well learned in the classroom, and when McCreedy and Ben's Dad have a wager on Ben's performance in the class maths test, Ben has to find a way to smuggle Stinky into school.

The exercise is hilarious but unfortunately fails, and Ben also fails the test. For punishment he has to clean McCreedy's huge car with a toothbrush, wearing a T-shirt printed with the words: I am a Cheat.

When Dad and McCreedy wage another bet on the next test, Ben is determined to pass. Otherwise his Dad will watch Ben clean the car again - wearing a dress. If he passes, McCreedy will be the one to be humiliated.

David Lowe comes up with a novel solution which also emphasises that cheating isn't the way go. Mark Chamber's line drawings add to the amusement of the story, and I can just about hear the kids cheering when Beardy McCreedy is the one to suffer humiliation. My Hamster is an Astronaut is the next book in the series and promises to be just as entertaining.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Buzz Words Books would love to hear what you think.