Does this freak anyone else out a little bit???
A children's book that started life as "a collection of horrible hamster deaths" has won the Waterstone's children's book prize for debut author Katie Davies.
The Great Hamster Massacre, a humorous murder mystery involving two girl sleuths and an array of dead hamsters, is an illustrated book aimed at seven to 10-year-olds and is the first time that a story aimed at a younger readership has won the prize.
"I originally thought it was for older children but then I was told that children over the age of 10 are not interested in hamsters," said Davies. "The story was also inspired by real events that happened when I was a kid around eight or nine years old. I remember quite vividly what it was like at that age: me and my little brother wanted hamsters desperately, but had been given various portentous foreshadowing stories of dreadful things that had happened to small pets. We were also told that both our hamsters were girls but, inevitably, they turned out to be a breeding pair. We were over the moon with the litter but the following morning it was carnage in the cage - they had all been killed by the mother."
Inspired by this memory, Davies began asking her friends about similar pet tales and was overwhelmed with grim hamster stories. "One friend was getting ready for a night out, stepped back with a stiletto and speared the hamster. Another fell into a pot of glue in the classroom," said Davies, with a shudder.
From these unlikely beginnings was born a book described by the children's laureate Anthony Browne as "a funny and touching story told very convincingly and honestly from the point of view of a young girl."
Davies was keen to write a story that would appeal to both boys and girls and contain all the "gory and bodily function bits" that she loved in Roald Dahl books as a child.Read the rest of the article HERE