CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 2. . . .September 13, 2013
Youngsters first met this hamster horde (yes, that’s the collective name for a group of hamsters) in Hamsters Holding Hands a counting book that introduced the numbers from one to 10. In This Little Hamster, the concept being introduced is colour, nine colours to be exact: blue, red, pink, yellow, brown, purple, green, white and black. Why no orange, you might ask, especially when the colour is used for the first two words of the book’s title? The answer is found in Reich’s text which takes the form of rhyming couplets, with the colour being the word that is to be rhymed. My Web research confirmed that “orange” has no perfect rhyme (other than, perhaps, sporange, a botanical term for part of a fern).
Design-wise, each pair of facing pages deals with a single colour, with the recto containing Reich’s illustration and the facing page the text. All of the text words are rendered in brown with the exception of the page’s target colour, Though the title says “This Little Hamster”, six of the verses begin with “These Little Hamsters”, and two or three hamsters then indicate their collective preference for a particular colour, using verbs like “love” and “collect”. The verse concludes with the hamster(s) listing two or three items which represent the target colour. The accompanying illustration uses a shade of the target colour as its background, and the hamster(s) is/are shown holding or gesturing towards the items mentioned in the poetry. The objects are a mixture of common items (egg, tire, duck) and some which might not be as familiar (a pepper, top hat, spool of thread) to the intended audience. The artwork, consisting of hand drawings that were digitally coloured, is sufficiently simple that youngsters should have no difficulties in locating and identifying the various objects.
As a concept board book, This Little Hamster provides a very good introduction to colours and merits being part of home, as well as institutional, libraries.
Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.