Hamstersaurus Rex

Tom O'Donnell

Book - 2016

"Eleven-year old Sam befriends a hungry class hamster that undergoes a freaky transformation"--

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New York, NY : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers [2016]
Main Author
Tom O'Donnell (author)
Other Authors
Tim Miller, 1972- (illustrator)
First edition
Physical Description
256 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

In the annals of class-petdom, few indeed could ever match aptly named Hamstersaurus Rex for loyalty and ferocity not to mention an insatiable appetite for snack food manufactured in the labs, whoops, no, kitchens of local megacorporation SmilesCorp. Transformed into a shark-toothed hybrid, thanks to an overdose of bodybuilding supplement, Hammie Rex joins forces with sixth-grade bully victim Sam Gibbs and repeatedly comes to the rescue in encounters with Kiefer Beefer Vanderkoff, menace of Horace Hotwater Middle School. With Sam's frequent cartoon drawings catching the comical high spots, events escalate from the odd swirly to a climactic Science Night catastrophe featuring both a battle royal between the redoubtable rodent and Beefer's boa, and the unveiling of SmilesCorp's latest development. The corporate satire is just byplay for the main event, though; by the end, the bully has been so humiliated that readers may feel a morsel of sympathy (just to keep things tidy, he transfers to another school), and Sam and his shirt-pocket buddy are triumphant.--Peters, John Copyright 2016 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A sixth-grade class unexpectedly gains-and promptly loses-a pet hamster in this enjoyably goofy series opener from O'Donnell (the Space Rocks! series). Sam Gibbs instantly bonds with the hamster that mysteriously appears in his classroom, which the kids name Hamstersaurus Rex. After escaping its cage, the mischievous, ravenous rodent grows into his name after gulping down the buffoonish gym coach's bodybuilding supplement, Dinoblast Powerpacker, sprouting sharp fangs and a "lizard-y" tail. Chaos ensues as Sam attempts to protect the junk food-obsessed hamster from Beefer Vanderkoff, an oafish bully who threatens to feed Hammie Rex to his pet boa constrictor. It's a brisk-moving and entertaining story, propelled by slapstick humor revolving around the hamster's use of his newfound superpowers to save Sam from embarrassing situations, as well as Sam's self-effacing asides and comical interactions with clueless adults and class know-it-all Martha. Miller's (Snappsy the Alligator) zippy b&w cartoons, allegedly sketched by Sam, are well-matched to the book's offbeat sense of humor. Ages 8-12. Author's agent: Emma Sweeney, Emma Sweeney Agency. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Entering the extended family that includes Timmy Failure, Otis Dooda, and Greg Heffley, Sam Gibbs is a lovable, misunderstood outsider. Sam is down and out because of an ill-fated foray into caricature drawing that turns his classmates against him and leaves him ripe and ready for a magical sidekick. He finds one when the class hamster consumes a bit too much of their gym teacher's bodybuilding powder and transforms into a mutant creature with a voracious appetite and physical characteristics of a small but incredibly strong dinosaur. O'Donnell's comedy bona fides include writing for the TV show Billy on the Street and penning essays for McSweeney's and The New Yorker. As with most successful kid-centric comedy, he gets lots of mileage out of the communication breakdown between kids and adults, which enables Sam to hide his wild, snack food-wolfing pal much longer than he should be able to. O'Donnell's farcical stock characters (nicely complemented by Miller's cartoon-style illustrations), such as the teacher's pet and the secretly sad gym teacher, are another source of amusement. The more major characters, including Sam's disc golf-playing BFF Dylan and swirlie-loving bully, Beefer Vanderkoff, are only modestly fleshed out-not necessarily a bad thing, since O'Donnell is aiming for rapid-fire amusement in the form of briskly deployed gags. O'Donnell misses an opportunity by not giving Hamstersaurus Rex, the character, a voice of his own. That would have made Sam's alone time with the swiftly changing animal more satisfying (and potentially funnier). Still, adults and kids alike will find that O'Donnell's deadpan, mildly absurdist writing style will generate some satisfying laughs. VERDICT A funny, lighthearted option for fans of Tom Angleberger.-Abigail Garnett, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

Taking care of a pet can be time-consuming, but caring for a secret mutant hamster could take over your life.When a hamster mysteriously appears at the back of Mr. Copelands sixth-grade classroom, Sam Gibbs, though he hasnt been the most popular student since the, ah, caricature-drawing incident, gets to name it: Hamstersaurus Rex (due to its tiny T-rex arms). Hammie escapes and later saves Sam from Kiefer Beefer Vanderkoff, Horace Hotwater Middle Schools dimmest bully, by dropping a solar system made of pennies on Beefers head. After gorging on SmilesCorp snacks and a different product called Dinoblast Powerpacker, Hammie mutates into a part-dinosaur, part-hamster eating machine with a fondness for Sam, who cant take Hammie home due to his mothers fur allergy. Can Sam keep Hammie a secret, save the rodent from Beefers revenge, and feed the furry garbage disposal enough to quiet its rampages? ODonnell kicks off a new series with an illustrated origin story sure to please fans of Betty G. Birneys Humphrey and Lincoln Peirces Big Nate. High jinks are funny and gross without being too rude, and characters are developed just realistically enough to ensure readers will identify with Sam and his female best friend, Dylan. Millers cartoons depict a largely white student body, including Sam, Beefer, and Dylan. A certain pleaser where furry fictions are well-loved. (Science fiction. 7-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.