Reviews for I, Freddy : Book One in the Golden Hamster Saga
Booklist Monthly Selections - # 1 April 2003
Gr. 3-6. Meet Freddy Auratus, golden hamster extraordinaire, escape artist, and narrator of this humorous adventure. Born at a local pet shop, Freddy engineers his own purchase and comes to live with six-year-old Sophie ("a girl in a million") and her parents. There he learns to read and escape from his cage using a pencil as a lever. When Mom's allergies act up, Freddy goes to live with Mr. John, who recognizes Freddy's superior intellect and encourages him to communicate using the computer. Freddy's appeal is not so much in what happens to him but in the humorous way he describes it. Self-confident and assured, even when facing a tomcat many times his size, Freddy is always quick with a clever comment, especially when describing the habits of his housemates, two poetic guinea pigs, Enrico and Caruso. Cepeda's line drawings break up the text and complement the informal tone of the story. One small quibble: the use of the term "pee-pee" for urine seems babyish for the intended audience; otherwise this lively book, translated from the German, will be a solid hit with anyone who likes animal stories. ((Reviewed April 1, 2003)) Copyright 2003 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2003 Fall
Freddy, a very intelligent golden hamster, first engineers his purchase from the pet store, then overcomes obstacles to arrange a new life as ""a civilized hamster free to roam wherever he wants"" and writes this, his autobiography. The plot occasionally becomes pedestrian, but Freddy's first-person voice is original, and Cepeda's line drawings add pizzazz. Copyright 2003 Horn Book Guide Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2003 May #2
Literature becomes liberator in this story of a golden hamster who wants more from life than an exercise wheel. Purchased to be the pet of a little girl named Sophie, Freddy teaches himself to read and to leave his cage at will (he's typing the story on his owner's computer). When Sophie's mother's hamster-hostility banishes him to the home of a translator of books, he negotiates the society of Sir William the cat and Enrico and Caruso, the rhyming guinea pigs--and realizes his destiny as a reader and a writer (using his new owner's computer). Fleshing out this slim story are fairly beguiling details of insight into hamster behavior and priorities and Cepeda's amusing black-and-white spot illustrations of the blocky, self-important hamster as he conquers his world. The story rather quickly becomes a one-note joke, however, that being Freddy's unrelievedly arch voice--a tedious joke at that. There are five Freddy books in Germany; let's hope that the others offer more than this one. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 May #4
This debut volume of the Golden Hamster Saga opens as the titular rodent begins writing (on a computer, it is later revealed) his life story. Freddy flashes back to his days in a pet shop, where, fed up from being crammed into a cage with biting, shoving "tread-wheel freaks" he proclaims, "I must find a buyer." When the next customer walks in, Freddy sits up and waves his forepaw, clinching the sale to the father of six-year-old Sophie. Once settled in Sophie's bedroom, Freddy, who can understand humans, sets some ambitious goals: he wants to learn to read and to find a way to open his cage so he can explore the books in the house. After Sophie's ill-humored mother has an allergic reaction to the girl's new pet, Freddy goes to live with a family friend, an easygoing fellow who-wryly-is named Mr. John and translates books from German to English. There, Freddy is befriended by a pet tomcat and taunted by a pair of guinea pigs whose wisecracking rhymes may well annoy readers as much as they do Freddy. Brownjohn's translation reads smoothly and captures the considerable wit of the narrative. Spare yet comical, Cepeda's line art reveals endearing views of Freddy and some inventive shots of his surroundings. At tale's start, Freddy wonders, "Is my story worth putting down on paper?" Readers are apt to respond affirmatively. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2003 November
Gr 3-5-Freddy Auratus is an unusual hamster. Unlike his pet-shop mates, he has ambitions beyond traditional cage life. He wants to explore the world and resolves to attract the right buyer. His choice is Sophie, almost six, a budding bookworm with the insight to consult a hamster-care book, and he gradually teaches himself to read from her books. He even devises a secret way to open the latch of his cage. But before he can do much exploring, Sophie's mother proves allergic to hamster fur and plans to get rid of him. He stows away with a visiting family friend, despite concerns about the man's other pets. His two guinea pigs, Enrico and Caruso, are masters of low comedy and excruciatingly bad songs, but, to Freddy's surprise, Sir William, the cat, is a civilized fellow who quietly maintains order in the household. Then, when theMaster brings home a computer, Freddy resolves to learn to write in hopes of communicating with the human world. Comparisons with Beverly Cleary's Ralph S. Mouse (Morrow, 1982) are probably inevitable, but Freddy is his own man-er, rodent. Illustrated with amusing black-ink sketches, this engaging story will appeal to fans of animal fantasies.-Elaine E. Knight, Lincoln Elementary Schools, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.