"Ten minutes till bedtime!" Father announces from behind his newspaper. Out a picture window, his son and his son's pet hamster can see a hamster family (with kids numbered 1 to 10) approaching the house. "All aboard!" shouts the boy's prized pet, as his puzzled owner opens the door and the hamster tourists are loaded onto the special trolley. What the humans at 1 Hoppin Place don't know is that their cherished family pet has advertised on the Web (www.hamstertours.com) for a "10-Minute Bedtime Tour," and the hordes have only just begun to descend.
"Nine minutes till bedtime," Father insists, oblivious to the burgeoning hamster parade. At the 8-minute marker, the hamsters and the boy are in the kitchen for a pre-bedtime snack. One little guy is standing on top of a fruit bowl, lowering a cherry cluster with a string and paper clip. Hamster number 10 is trying to feed an animal cracker to the boy's fuzzy bedroom slipper. "Seven minutes till bedtime!" reminds Father as creative tooth-brushing progresses. But what's this? It's the 5-minute countdown marker, and the faint light of hamster headlights appears out the window. More tourists are on their way! Buses, trucks, taxis, and golf carts full of rodents are driving up the sidewalk! Hilarious hamster hijinks ensue. If you're not seeing the appeal here, it's like this: each spread is turbocharged with dozens of winsome, adorable details that will keep youngsters giggling and entranced--and counting to 10--time after time. Peggy Rathmann, author of the Caldecott Medal-winning Officer Buckle and Gloria, offers readers a rollicking rodent romp that ends with a goodnight kiss and many, many closed eyelids. (Click to see a sample spread. Copyright © 1998 Peggy Rathmann, published by Putnam Books, a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers.) (Ages 2 to 8) --Karin Snelson [via]