Trouble According to Humphrey

By Betty G. Birney (2007)

Now you don’t have to wait until the summer to read more of the adventures of everyone’s favorite classroom hamster – Humphrey!

Betty G. Birney’s The World According to Humphrey has become one of the most popular One School, One Book titles. Thousands of students and families have read about the hero of Room 26. Many schools have built on Humphrey’s example and adopted their own classroom pet. (You can see the pictures on Facebook.) Penguin Books has even supported their efforts and designed and distributes special One School, One Book Humphrey bookmarks.

Trouble According to Humphrey has all the charm and wisdom of the original World According to Humphrey. Humphrey has a new set of dilemmas to solve – but he remains as wise as ever.

In Trouble According to Humphrey, Mrs. Brisbane has her students set up a miniature town – a massive classroom diorama. They name the town Humphreyville – and the children are given individual classroom responsibilities. As in the original, Humphrey goes home with various students and discovers what each student’s home life is actually like. He someone manages to share his special brand of hamster wisdom to all the lives he touches.

He also has a new classroom friend – a frog named Og. Humphrey has a sense of perspective beyond his size – and Betty G. Birney ensures that children and families alike will benefit and grow from his perceptive advice. Birney even manages to sneak in adult characters with a poetic take on life – such as the winning grandmother, Dot – who tells Humphrey about the trapeze in the circus (of course he wants to try it) and teaches him to appreciate the nostalgic tales of older people.

If you haven’t experienced the broad delights of Humphrey – delights that appeal to elementary students of all ages – and their parents – it’s time to share Trouble According to Humphrey.