Guinea PI: Hamster and Cheese #1 by Colleen AF Venable & Stephanie Yue

Sasspants the guinea pig lives in a pet shop with a bunch of other animals. The owner of the shop, Mr. Venezi, has really bad eyesight, though, and doesn’t know much about the animals he’s selling. As a result, most of their cages are grossly mislabeled – the hamsters are “koalas,” the gecko is a “moose,” the chinchillas are “camels,” and the mice are “walruses.” Sasspants loves to read, and just as she’s about to get to the end of her book, she’s interrupted by a Hamster/Koala who thinks she’s a private investigator (somehow the ‘G’ in ‘guinea pi…’ has fallen off her cage), and wants her to help. Mr. Venezi’s lunch (a provolone, tomato, and lettuce sandwich) has been stolen every day, and he’s been leaving it right outside the hamster cage, so he blames them. The hammies want to clear their good names – they can’t even stay awake during the day, so there’s no way they’re the sandwich thieves – and Detective Pants is the only one who can help them! This is a truly hysterical kids’ comic (adults will also be rotfl); there’s a lot of subtle humor and inside jokes that adults will appreciate, too. The pets are all incredibly cute (especially the hamsters with their big, pleading eyes), and the artwork really embodies the spirit and character of the animals it depicts. Readers will be able to follow along with Detective Pants’ investigation – finding clues in the pictures that will help them solve the mystery of the missing sandwich. Sasspants and her faithful Hamster associate, Hamisher, finally put everything together in a very satisfying conclusion. This is a very silly book, and very silly people will enjoy it immensely. I shall eagerly await the next installment!

* * * * Stars   Reviewed by Karin Thogersen, Young Adult Librarian

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