HOT ROD HAMSTER by Cynthia Lord, pictures by Derek Anderson (Scholastic Press, 2010, $16.99) is an interactive picture book in which a hamster builds a hot rod. The young readers work with him in refurbishing a small green car. As each item is added the author ends the page with ,” Which would you choose?” The hamster ends up with tires that burn rubber, a motor that roars, and a helmet. Now he is ready to roll.
Of special note here is the way the author uses such vibrant language. After the car is made ready to roll and the hamster is lined up at the starting line she writes, “Stare face, scowl face, frowning grouchy-growl face, Bored face, dare face, nose up in the air face.” And the illustrator very cleverly has drawn other drivers for each of the descriptive phrases in the text. Throughout this remarkable book the art is spectacular. Very colorful, active, expressive especially the wee hamster. A truly delightful book guaranteed to hold every future race car driver spellbound yet hilarious.