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Ethel’s New Home

Ethel’s New Home
Ethel's New Home is a heartwarming story about a dwarf hamster who lives in a hamster tank with seven brothers and sisters. But Ethel has a problem, she is getting tired of having to share all the time with them. Ethel can't eat, drink, or sleep when she wants because her brothers and sisters are always in the way. Ethel decides the answer is to escape from the tank and find a new, more spacious place to live by herself. What waits outside of the tank for Ethel? Will she ever make her way home again? A story with a theme that both parents and children will enjoy reading together especially if they come from a large family.
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What a lovely children's book! Author Kathy Rogo has created a charming story about a little hamster running away from her numerous family so she wouldn't have to wait her turn every single time. Plenty of siblings in large families will identify with Ethel.

The illustrations are simply adorable, although the layout (exchange of text and images) is better in the first half of the book. The writer's narration finds the right balance between simplicity and complexity. The children might appreciate a bit more dialogue, especially between the siblings, because they usually relish in acting, and the story lends itself to role play so easily. The scene when Ethel runs into the cat offers an excellent role-playing opportunity.

The ending is gratifying, as Ethel is safely back home with her loving family, and the pets even get a bigger home. I believe parents will enjoy reading and discussing this with their children, learning and teaching about sharing, patience and appreciating the safety of home.

The cover of this book drew me in with its bright colors and whimsical illustrations, which were maintained beautifully throughout the rest of the book. This story had the feel of one of my favorites The Poky Little Puppy with its simple verbiage and repetitive lines that children can imitate easily to develop a love of language and appreciation for the written word.

Growing up in a large family myself, I can wholeheartedly relate to this little hamster's troubles. She's on a journey to find her place in her world, in her home, and she decides to run away. Ultimately she discovers that there truly is no place like home.

As I mentioned, the illustrations in this picture book are beautiful and the story has an admirable premise. Even though there were a few minor glitches in the grammar and punctuation, these didn't take away from the story's message. I read this to my ten-year-old daughter and she enjoyed it.

I would definitely share this story with the kids in my center and I recommend it to parents or educators of young children.
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