The World According to Humphrey
by Betty G. Birney (2005) (Available in Spanish)
By popular demand! The simple, accessible, wonderful, endearing story of the humble hamster – Humphrey. With his common sense and aggressive nose for right and wrong, Humphrey turns the world of those he meets upside down – for the better! Fresh from the Pet-O-Rama, initially a reluctant member of Room 26 at Longfellow School, already missing his first hostess (the notorious Ms. Mac), wary and mistrustful of the seemingly dour Mrs. Brisbane – Humphrey slowly endears himself to the students in Room 26 – and to the adults lucky enough to know him (including the principal and the vital school custodian).
What Humphrey really does is teach lessons. The non-didactic kind. Leading by example. It is Betty G. Birney’s genius to let Humphrey recognize and supply the life lessons that give both students and adults confidence – and enables them to confront their secrets and meet their respective challenges. And she does all this in a brisk, quick book enlivened by quick, brisk prose and easily accessible disguised homilies. (“You can learn a lot about yourself when you get to know another species.”)
Like Humphrey, when you meet students lile Raise-Your-Hand-Heidi, Repeat-That-Please-Richie, and Speak-Up-Sayeh, you will embrace their interests and needs and admire Humphrey’s alert and sensible solutions. Similarly, your students and families will find themselves racing into The World According to Humphrey without realizing how quickly they’ll be charmed and hooked. (And want more.)
Note: The World According to Humphrey is an ideal selection for schools wanting to ensure younger readers/listeners can follow along and benefit from your One School, One Book selection. And for hungry families who catch the habit of reading aloud together from your innocent selection, there are six sequels!