Reviews: Memoirs of a Goldfish & Memoirs of a Hamster by Devin Scillian & Tim Bowers

Memoirs of a Goldfish Memoirs of a Goldfish
by Devin Scillian & Tim Bowers

ISBN-13: 9-781585-365074
Publication: April 2010 from Sleeping Bear Press (Scholastic)
Source: bought (Scholastic Book Fair)
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

With his bowl to himself, Goldfish loves his life…until one day…

A personal account from a goldfish on life in his bowl as other intruders crowd him.

Memoirs of a Hamster Memoirs of a Hamster
by Devin Scillian & Tim Bowers

ISBN-13: 9-781585-368310
Publication: May 2013 from Sleeping Bear Press (Scholastic)
Source: bought
Rating: 5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I loved it!

Seymour the hamster has the perfect life. He has a spacious cage, a constant food supply, and a FuzzyBoy 360 exercise wheel that lets him run to his heart’s content. Life could not be better. Or could it? When Pearl the cat tells Seymour of the goodies beyond the safe confines of his cage, he starts to think he’s missing out. And out is the new in! It’s only after Seymour is out of his cage that he begins to fully appreciate his safe and cozy home.

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Double review day! Memoirs of a Goldfish and Memoirs of a Hamster by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers are two of the cutest picture books I have read this year. I picked up Memoirs of a Goldfish at the fall Scholastic Book Fair at one of my schools and immediately fell in love with it. Imagine my happy face when I found out that a second book, Memoirs of a Hamster had been published earlier in the year! And in the spirit of complete honesty, no matter how much I love Goldfish, I love Hamster so much more.

In Memoirs of a Goldfish, our diary-writer goldfish spends his days swimming around his bowl. Sometimes twice. But then someone new arrives. And that someone new is just the beginning. Soon, the goldfish is crowded in his bowl with a crab, guppies, an angelfish and more. He’s so crowded and frustrated that he can’t wait to have his own bowl again. But it’s when he does get his own bowl again that he realizes he misses the others – they’ve become his family. In Memoirs of a Hamster, Seymour lives a very content life in his cage with yoghurt drops, his Fuzzyboy 360 wheel and cozy bedding. But Pearl the cat tempts him with outside the cage, describing the sun room full of yoghurt drops and a staircase made of sunflower seeds. Poor Seymour doesn’t realize Pearl has ulterior motives to getting him out of his cage. Seymour quickly realizes that his cage is perfect for him, and needs to get back home!

5 heart

Both books are beautifully illustrated (Seymour is adorable!) with large text for easy reading. The stories are so funny – especially when dealing with Pearl (the big fat liar) and all the new fish and sea creatures that come to live in the goldfish bowl. When reading them out loud to my classes, I found that Memoirs of a Hamster received more laughs but that Memoirs of a Goldfish enabled more discussion on what would happen next and why. Both are perfect for a unit on journal writing and reading them together in one session is the best. Devin Scillian and Tim Bowers have written and illustrated two fantastic books that allow a humourous look at not taking what you have for granted (Seymour and his home), and that new people and situations are often good for you (the goldfish not being alone anymore). I definitely recommend picking these both up if you haven’t already!

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