Black, red, and white illustration. A hamster wearing a crown brandishes a sword and stands protectively in front of a smaller hamster wearing a red cloak.

KidLit Book Review: Hamster Princess: Little Red Rodent Hood by Ursula Vernon


Synopsis

Most monsters know better than to mess with Princess Harriet Hamsterbone. She’s a fearsome warrior, an accomplished jouster, and is so convincing that she once converted a beastly Ogrecat to vegetarianism. So why would a pack of weasel-wolf monsters come to her for help? Well, there’s something downright spooky going on in the forest where they live, and it all centers around a mysterious girl in a red cape. No one knows better than Harriet that little girls aren’t always sweet. Luckily there’s no problem too big or bad for this princess to solve.


Details

  • Title: Hamster Princess: Little Red Rodent Hood
  • Series: Hamster Princess, Book 6
  • Author/Illustrator: Ursula Vernon
  • Cover Artist: Ursula Vernon
  • Publisher: Dial Books
  • ISBN: 0399186581
  • Publication Date: September 25, 2018
  • For Ages: 8-12
  • Category: Chapter Book
  • Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.

Review

“But she’s a little girl. How dangerous can she be?”
“Don’t be fooled, Wilbur. Little girls can be extremely dangerous. I was one myself once.”
“Yeah, but you’re…well, I mean, not all little girls are like you.”
“All little girls have the potential to be like me. You’ve just gotta give them swords.”

Princess Harriet is a fierce warrior dedicated to protecting the innocent and defeating monsters…the bigger and scarier, the better. She also happens to be a hamster. In this absurdly entertaining (and entertainingly absurd) sixth entry in the Hamster Princess series, Harriet must get to the bottom of a mystery involving a pack of weasel-wolves, a young girl in a bright red cloak, and her suspiciously furry grandmother. It’s a gloriously fractured fairy tale that subverts genre tropes and defies gender roles with wicked humor sure to satisfy fans of Douglas Adams and Monty Python.

Author Ursula Vernon dedicates her story to “all the little girls who grew up wanting to be werewolves.” Much to my delight, this gleefully weird feminist energy carries throughout the entire book. There’s no doubt in Harriet’s mind that it’s perfectly natural for a princess to carry a sword and run headlong into danger; nor is there any doubt in her mind that you should be proud of yourself for being good at things. It’s both refreshing and inspiring to see Harriet’s matter-of-fact approach to her monster-hunting and her pride in her own fearlessness and physical prowess. These are vital lessons for little girls, who are often taught to diminish themselves, especially if their interests and talents lie in areas typically thought of as masculine.

Vernon makes this story completely accessible to readers like me who are new to the series she alludes to Princess Harriet’s previous adventures, but she does so in a way that makes new readers feel like they’re in on the joke. Still, I fully intend to go back and read the first five Hamster Princess books. Now that I’ve made Harriet’s acquaintance, I want to read as much about her as I can. With charming illustrations, sly humor, and a compelling narrative, Hamster Princess: Little Red Rodent Hood is a feminist fairy tale perfect for kids (and hamsters) of all ages and genders.


Rating

You’ve just gotta give them swords! I give this book 4.5 out of 5 coffins.

4.5 Coffins


 

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