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Desbordes, Astrid (text) Pauline Martin (illus.): Reflections of a Solitary Hamster.

([dagger])([dagger]) DESBORDES, Astrid (text) Pauline Martin (illus.) Reflections of a Solitary Hamster Gecko Press, 2009 (2008) 56pp NZ$24.99 pbk ISBN 9781877467455 SCIS 1435628

A strange and eclectic collection of cartoons united by the character of the solitary hamster, this book is designed to provoke contemplations about the Big Questions. What is to be? Who are we in the scheme of things? Does it matter? The opening sequence frames the approach. Mole, Hedgehog and our solitary Hamster are contemplating the night sky and, having made his own wish, Mole turns to Hedgehog and invites him to articulate his wish. He declines and passes the mantle to Hamster who seeks privacy in order to freely state His Wish. 'Lights of the evening, that shine from afar, may all gaze upon me: Hamster the star.' Lest we take this egotism too seriously, the next sequence invites the reader to have an ironical disposition in responding to Hamster's contemplations as he waylays Mole, pretends to be a ferocious puma and desires Mole to let him describe himself. Mole declines uttering 'A puma? I'm shortsighted, sure. But let's not exaggerate.' Taking on this mantle of the ironically disposed reader, children might well enjoy the gentle humour that challenges the representation of the egotistic child and will gain insight into other ways of storytelling, other forms of humour, other traditions of illustration that speak across national divides. Recommended.

([dagger])([dagger]) Book by a New Zealand author or illustrator

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Author:McKenzie, John
Publication:Reading Time
Article Type:Book review
Date:Feb 1, 2010
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