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Welcome to Grantabrugge Hamstery

Hamster Library

I am collecting a library of english-language hardcopy hamster books (I am also maintaining a list of english-language Kindle-only hamster books, but not collecting them). Popular hamster books have existed since the mid 1940s and their contents illustrate changes in the way that people have been thinking of and looking after hamsters over that time. I now have over two hundred hamster books of different types although I have picked out some 'Top 5' suggestions for different situations further down this page.

Hamster care books for the general public began to appear in Britain and America 7-14 years after the first introduction of the Syrian hamster to those countries. In Britain a hamster fancy was quickly formed, whereas in America hamsters were bred as a money making exercise to supply laboratories and marketed heavily as pets to the general public. Most hamster care books from the 1940s to the present cover similar topics, such as the proper feeding, housing and handling of pet hamsters, their illnesses, and their usual behaviour and reproduction - although the advice and suggestions made often change through time. It is also possible to see the progression of new hamster colours and varieties as they are discovered, popularised and gradually make their way into the books. My own hamster care books are listed in three separate indexes to minimise scrolling, one for books dating from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, one for the 1980s and 90s and the third one covering books published during the 21st Century.

I am also interested in the way that hamsters are portrayed in english-language fiction and how this has changed over time. My fiction collection is divided into three indexes, one for picture books, one for younger children and one for older children's storybooks. There is also another miscellaneous section which is largely fiction but contains any hamster books etc that do not fit in elsewhere.

As well as books on hamster care and hamster stories, I also have a small number of scientific and veterinary books about hamsters. These books are usually based on reporting the results of laboratory trials which often caused harm to the hamsters involved and they are written in technical scientific language, being aimed at a different audience to the usual pet care guide. However, often the purpose of the tests was to discover more about the hamster itself, both to better understand the results of medical trials carried out using hamsters but also just to know how to keep hamsters better. I feel that it is important to spread any information about hamster welfare which has been already gained by the harm of hamsters as widely as possible so that the most benefit can come to future generations of living hamsters as a result and so that it is not necessary to repeat the same tests as their findings will remain well-known.

The links above will take you to pictorial indexes of the book covers. Click on the image of a book to jump to a short description of the contents - these book review pages also contain placeholder entries for other works which I am aware of but do not currently own. Clicking the image of the book again will return you to the relevant index from any of the reviews. When evaluating non-fiction books I have mostly been considering their usefulness as an information source to a modern hamster-keeper and in fiction I have focused on the portrayal of hamsters and hamster care within the book.

As a by-product of doing a lot of research into hamster books, I have also come across quite extensive information on books about other rodents too. I have not put as much effort into making these lists as definitive as possible as I have for hamsters, but I offer links in case they provide a useful resource for another researcher. The first such list is of Gerbil Care Books.

My Top Picks

Top 5 Most Informative Hamster Care Books

A large number of hamster care books are aimed at young children and consequently get 'dumbed down' to bare essentials. Each of these five hamster books was written with interested adult hamster-keepers in mind.

Top 5 Most Historically Significant Hamster Books

Hamsterlopaedia is also one of the more influential hamster books of the past few decades and is still highly recommended within the hamster community today.

Top 5 Books for Hamster Breeders

It is also worth looking at genetics resources on the internet, such as the links given in the Genetics section of this website.

Top 5 Books About Dwarf Hamsters

Top 5 Hamster Care Books for Younger Readers

Each of these books has some aspect that suggests that it was written with a younger hamster-owning audience in mind. However, do not be misled that these must be less good than some of the other hamster books written for people of any age - all of these books cover at least the basics of everyday hamster care and would actually be helpful to a young person who is responsible for looking after their own pet hamster, and they are all better than at least some "adult" hamster care books 'out there'.

Top 5 Hamster Books for the Under-5s

These books provide a gentle introduction to hamsters as living creatures for children too young to have responsibilities for looking after them directly.

Top 5 Hamster Storybooks for Older Children

"I, Houdini" is probably the most famous single storybook about a hamster and often appears on lists of classic children's books in its own right.

Each of the other four books on this list really represents the series it comes from - the Humphrey series is very well known and mixes messages about friendship and kindness with entertaining stories, the Hammy series has the added complexity of a comic-style villain subplot to compliment the hamster-owner relationship and both the Freddy and Frank series draw deeply from hamster know-how to create independent heroes who can cope with complex situations including the supernatural.

As yet, hamsters in fiction who have a narrative voice seem to be exclusively male. Perhaps you will be the writer to change this?

Christian Hamster Books

When I began collecting hamster books it never occurred to me that any would be overtly Christian, however it turns out that several authors have combined hamsters with religious teaching - and this does not include the various stories that are set during the "holiday season" but do not especially discuss the religion behind Christmas or other winter festivals. So far I have only come across one English-language hamster book overtly based in any other religious traditions: "Hershel the Hanukkah Hamster" (2006) - however this book was self-published and seems to have already gone out of print.