Tuesday, January 30, 2018


35082438Vernon, Ursula. Whiskerella (Hamster Princess #5)
January 23rd 2018 by Dial Books
Copy provided by the publisher

Harriet's mother is throwing a ball for the bat ambassador, and Harriet and Wilbur are NOT thrilled. The food isn't great, and Harriet has to dance with all of the princes with whom her mother is trying to set her up. And she's twelve! Luckily, there is a bit of intrigue at the ball, with a mysterious princess fleeing at the stroke of midnight in a carriage driven by two quail. No one has heard of this princess, but Harriet talks to Ralph in the stables and finds out a little more information. She tracks down Whiskerella, only to find that she is the victim of a fairy godmother's "gift"-- whisking her away to balls when Whiskerella briefly complained about sweeping, even though her "evil sister", Misty, does the dishes! Whiskerella has no desire to marry a prince, but because of the spell, will have to continue to attend balls until she does! Unfortunately, her sister's Lizard, Stinky, was turned into the coachman and was left at the palace, where he is widdling on all the tapestries! In between finding Stinky and making sure the fairy's gift can be negated, Harriet has to deal with her mother and father, who are not pleased with their daughter's shenanigans. Harriet also isn't the most tactful hamster, and she manages to enrage the fairy godmother enough so that she and Wilbur are both turned into quail... until Whiskerella ends up with a prince. How will she manage to save the day when all anyone hears her say is "Qwerk!"?
Strengths: In the version of Cinderella that I told my daughters twenty years ago, Cinderella married the prince, but then went to graduate school to major in biochemical engineering. It's completely realistic that Harriet's mother wants her to marry, and equally realistic that Harriet is more concerned with brandishing her sword and having adventures. The twist that the fairy godmother's "gift" feels more like a curse is brilliant, and the best part of any Hamster Princess book is the smartly crackling dialogue: "Is your mother afraid something will happen to you?" [asks Wilbur] "I," said Harriet with absolute confidence, " am something that happens to OTHER people." This is my new motto!
Weaknesses: A bit too much concern with lizard widdle, although maybe not enough if one is 8.
What I really think: These are so clever that even middle school students, when their arms are twisted just a tiny bit, adore these as much as I do. For my younger sixth grade readers, these are a first choice, and our Guys Read Pink promotion in February makes fans of the coolest, manliest 8th grade boys. Can't wait to see what Vernon will turn her trademarked humor to next!

Join in on all the fun!
January 23 – DoodleMom’s Homeschooling Life – Review, Creative (Doll making), and Interview
January 24 – The Keepers of the Books – Review
January 25 – Margie’s Must Reads – Review
January 26 – Books4yourkids – Review
January 29 – Pirates and Pixie Dust – Review
January 30 – Ms. Yingling Reads – Review
January 31 – The Slytherin book lady– Review
Ms. Yingling

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