27. The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
This is a cute little book with some interesting points of view. I have reviewed it before, but 2.5 years later isn’t too soon to reread something short and sweet. Basically, Humphrey is the (very intelligent) class hamster for a group of kids (and a few associated adults), and while he aims to have a good time himself, he also has a goal of helping all these people sort out the small and large problems they find themselves with. Always with the difficulty of not being able to speak to them directly, nor even make it clear that he can understand their speech and even their writing. (Well, when it’s in English – he’s not polyglot in human languages, which is relevant to the book.)
All in all, it’s a fun chapter book to read yourself, to younger children, or have the early-to-mid confident readers attack alone. While no horrible situations come up, there is a whole variety of social and familial issues raised, which I’d say should be treated as an opportunity to discuss such things in a safe setting with children. A good thing, in my opinion.
(By the way, the link and cover picture are apparently to the US edition of the book, which isn’t the one I have or read, but I have no reason to think there are any major differences.)