Review Detail

Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0

Guinea Pig Halloween

Fuzzy and the other pets in Miss Wills' class 5-B are getting ready for Halloween. Fuzzy in particular is trying to come up with a plan so he can see all of the costumes this year, and Cinnabun is trying to have the pets have their own contest! She, of course, gets to be a princess. When strange things start to happen in the classroom, Fuzzy suspects that there might be a ghost who is messing up classrooms and making weird noises, but his investigation is thwarted by weekend trips to students' homes and general school activity. Even Fuzzy and Mistletoe have seen weird happenings, with lights going off and shadowy figures lurking. The pets try everything they can find (with some help from the internet) to persuade the ghost to leave, but eventually find who the real culprit is. The custodian, Mr. Darius, doesn't want to set traps or poison to deal with the unwelcome addition to the pets, but his assistant Rhonda has less patience and is ready to declare full scale war. Can Fuzzy make sure that the "ghost" doesn't come to harm?

Good Points
Books like Birney's Humphrey and Barkley's Critter Club series, and The Great Pet Escape by Victoria Jamieson and Ferocious Fluffity by Erica S. Perl, are always popular with young readers. The pets get to see the secret life inside the school or house, and react to it in a way that young readers are not able to. There is a lot of humor to sentient pets, and the personalities (like the oddly Southern Cinnabun and not-so-bright Mistletoe) of the pets make it even more fun to see the human world through their eyes.

Fuzzy is a good manager, and he sets out with a lot of deliberation to assess the mystery. He corrals his allies, does his research, and is able to deal fairly with the "ghost" when it is located. He also has pretty strong opinions as to what makes an appropriately suitable guinea pig costume-- and it does NOT involve a pink tutu!

The page decorations are fun, and done by Hale himself, which is a nice addition to the book. This series is bound to be a popular choice in classroom libraries and at book fairs. My own daughter still has her elementary copy of The World According to Humphrey (2004), and it was always the book she took to school as a tension reliever during state testing!
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