The Short: Hamweenie, an indoor city cat, dreams of being famous and adored by children. However, he must bide his time until he can escape his current fate. The illustrations and story line are imaginative and humorous. The illustrations are done in pen and ink and watercolors on watercolor paper. I love reading this book to my son. He’s asked for me to read this book to him several times. He is now able to finish some of the sentences when I read it to him. It’s an elegant and sophisticated picture book that made me and my son laugh quite a bit. I highly recommend it.
The Long: This book reminds me a bit of What Pete Ate From A to Z in its tone, but it is an entirely unique book. The story is told from a third person point of view that is sympathetic to Hamweenie. The illustrations give a more objective story of what is happening. It makes for a fun story time because the words sometimes tell a different story than what the picture reveals. This was confusing at first for my son, but after taking some time to explain to him a little about perspective, he started to really enjoy it. How much he understands remains to be seen, but he does seem to understand that the words and the pictures do not always agree.
My favorite part: I laughed a lot while reading this book to my son. There is a scene where Hamweenie is playing video games and another where he is reading a gossip magazine. Under these scenes is the line, “His living conditions are atrocious.”
This led to me teaching my son what the word atrocious means. He now knows that it means terrible or horrible. What a great way to learn a word. Overall, the vocabulary in this book is excellent. Such words as: grandeur, stardom, idolized, sabotage, futile, undeterred, agonizing, bestows, merciless abandon, bides, are used. The book ends with, “Waiting for this endless array of horrors and injustice to end.” (With Hamweenie and his owner curled up together happily in a chair.)
This book is a mix of humor, art, irony, and sweetness. I think it is incredible and my son loves it. It makes me so happy when he requests for me to read this to him and I cannot wait for him to start running around the house quoting it.
Where Obtained: Public Library
FTC Disclosures: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” If you click on the link and purchase the book, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Title: The Amazing Hamweenie
Author/Illustrator: Patty Bowman
Publisher: Philomel Books
Publication Date: October 11, 2012