The Great Pet Escape

Written and Illustrated by Victoria Jamieson

My elementary-age daughter recommended this short graphic novel to me. She found it at her school library and loved it. So, when I had the chance to read and review it, I already had high expectations. I was not disappointed. I found it to be cute, clever, and funny! I especially liked the setting and story line because it’s all about the antics of classroom pets at an elementary school. I remember very vividly the classroom pets from my elementary school years. The pets in this story rock with their unique personalities and silly lines. Every good story needs a villain, and this one has a few. Young readers will love the pictures and crazy adventures.

Review by Jennifer Ford, South Kearns Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 1-6

This is a great story with great pictures. The class pets are planning their great escape from the school. As they get ready to leave, they are captured by the mouse from 4th Grade. It is very funny to see how these pets creatively get out of many problems. This book made me laugh. Fun.

Review by Maria Bucio, Diamond Ridge Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: 3rd – 5th Grade

GW (real name, George Washington) has been stuck in his hamster cage for three months, two weeks, and one day. He and his friends, Barry the bunny and Biter the ferocious guinea pig used to be the Furry Fiends until they were captured and turned into classroom pets. As the story opens, GW has been trying to figure out how to unlock his cage. At the end of the school day, he makes his break and goes off in search of his companions. To his dismay, Barry seems pretty happy in first grade, and Biter has completely gone over to the dark side of kindergarten, calling herself Sunflower and practicing yoga to handle her anger issues.

GW finally convinces them to return to their previous life, but their plans are interrupted by Harriet, the fourth grade mouse, leading an army that includes the fifth grade snake and ten more mice. War breaks out and there is a food fight of title wave proportions.

There is nice surprise and turn about when these three friends start working together against an evil villain to help maintain order in the school.

This is a really cute story, enduring characters and fun and bright illustrations. Can’t wait for the second installment to be published.

Review by Angela Pratt, Hillsdale Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 2-6

The Great Pet Escape is one of my favorite graphic novels. It is easy to read, understand, and is filled with puns, humor, and adventure. Full color, simply illustrated cells, tell the story of GW, 2nd grade classroom pet hamster, Barry, 1st grade pet rabbit, and Biter, Kindergarten gerbil. Formerly friends before they were captured and caged, they attempt to escape from school. Their plan is foiled by the school mice who plot to ruin school lunch the next day. War in the form of a food fight ensues. I loved the changes that came over the criminal like gruffness of the pets as they spent time with the children. My favorite was kindergarten gerbil Biter. Previously feared for her anger issues, she has transformed into flower halo, peace keeping, meditative, Sunflower. The storyline is fun, simple, and relate-able. The format and layout is great for the beginner graphic reader. I loved this cute little book. I would definitely recommend it to my students and as a Beehive nominee. Is this a series? More please!

Review by Terrie Bishop, Academy Park Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K-6

Class pets are on the loose at Daisy P. Flugelhorn Elementary School. GW, Barry, and Sunflower are all set to escape when 6th grade class pet, Harriet (and her Minions), begin to make mischief. The battle that ensues is hilarious. Told in graphic novel format the illustrations by Victoria Jamieson (of Roller Girl fame) are colorful, endearing and silly. We even get a glimpse of Astrid and her friend Nicole.

Kids are sure to love GW (short for George Washington), Barry, and Sunflower. Because, you know, who doesn’t love an adorable hamster, rabbit and Guinea pig? And what kid wouldn’t love reading about class pets saving the school?

This is a sure winner to flesh out your lower grade graphic novel section. A super fun read.

Review by Christine Fotheringham, Rolling Meadows Elementary Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: 1st thru 5th Grade

This is a fun graphic novel that will draw in many students. They will relate to the school setting and will enjoy the silly and fun story. It is clever and and funny. I don’t expect this book to stay on the shelf for long.

Review by Vanessa Eyre, Robert Frost Media Center
Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades 2-4

The Great Pet Escape
Written and Illustrated by Victoria Jamieson
Henry Holt and Company
64 pages
Release Date: February 16, 2016

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