I, Houdini Review

H HamsterI, Houdini

By: Lynn Reid Banks

Published: 1978

You all remember I, Houdini by Lynn Reid Banks. You know, the story of a Hamster who escapes every cage; every trap; every family.

No?

Well, I’m sure you remember his other book, Indian in the Cupboard.

However you choose recall him, remember this I, Houdini is not only essential for kids, but adults as well.

While initially, the text appears to be a modern retelling of Gulliver’s travels in Brobdingnag, Houdini experiences our world with all the fascination we lost growing up; fascinations ranging from cylindrical trash cans, internal wiring, the woodwork of a house—oh the joys of finding a good wood chew to gnaw on; munch, munch, munch.

I’m sorry I’ve gotten lost.

Unlike Gulliver however, Houdini experiences the world in hindsight, letting his audience know what the gargantuan objects are ahead of time (by name), and how he fumbled understanding them initially.

Not to mention that, while exceedingly exceptional, he only grows a knack for escaping because he’s continually making mistakes and getting caught. He doesn’t do this to challenge himself, it’s because he genuinely battles with his inner nature, being a primitive hamster. He hates his fellow kind, and can hardly bare a mating ritual—although he does get past that. His misanthropic attitude even lends to the consummation as he references himself as a buck in need of his doe—a hamster, people.

It may seem like I’m obsessed with hamster sex, but this scene is incredibly poetic and is in no way inappropriate for children and even stands as an example of how children’s literature should be accessible to adults as well—especially since they’ll likely be the ones reading to the demographic. But, in this scene, he squeezes in adult humor while retaining a character trait, making it all the more organic.

Houdini has no sense of time, he can’t comprehend it. The book takes place over the course of a month, and he talks like it’s been years. Because of this, when the two hamsters finally mate, he says that it was just the right amount of time, not knowing how long that is, but long enough—very obviously experiencing the insecurities of a first-time lover. This kind of humor plays for all ages.

While he wrestles with his inner nature, struggling between being of higher intelligence and his primitive needs, he also tries to understand humans, who are even more fascinating with language and their concept of God.

Having no religious affiliation, he does appreciate investing in a higher power, something to thank for his freedom. And actually, he replaces his god when he comes across a better one.

If you have a child, or better yet, want to reclaim that inner one, you should read this book. It’s quick, it’s glorious, and well worth it.

For more reviews, check out Derek Hobson’s Article Archive

The Avengers as a Metaphysical Manifestation of the Seven Deadly Sins

MV5BMTk2NTI1MTU4N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwODg0OTY0Nw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_Marvel’s The Avengers as a Metaphysical Manifestation of the Deadly Sins (And the Benevolent Promotion of Aforementioned Sins)

By Jeffrey Kieviet

Having watched Marvel’s The Avengers months too late and on a wonderful home viewing center, I regret not taking advantage of this Marvel-ous movie while still in theaters. It’s full of fun, action, humor, and everything else one could want out of any modern day comic-film, especially since this has been a long time coming with a total of 5(ish) prequels(ish) leading us to this masterpiece(ish). However, the 6 team members (plus their boss) can symbolize not just our hopes and dreams for true heroes, but embody the biblical 7 Deadly Sins. Some of these are much more obvious, while the subtlety of others will seem like a desperate stretch, but the most interesting aspect is if you accept these characters are characterizations of sin, the sin is what leads them to victory. (more…)

The Amazing Spider-Man (2012) Review

Disclaimer: I do not own this movie or any of the rights to it!By: Derek Hobson

What The Amazing Spider-Man does do well is portray an accurate account of what would happen if an average teenager got super powers.

He would beat up the bullies at school.

He would fight crime if it was in his best interest.

He would use his powers to “get the girl.”

He would be a smartass about everything because who could say he wasn’t special?

In short, Andrew Garfield’s Peter Parker is what Spider-Man would be… if Spider-Man was anyone but Peter Parker. (more…)

The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier
By: Derek Hobson

Waiting for takeoff,
Awaiting instruction,
Pilot amiss,
Missing protocol direction.

Countdown begins,
Backwards from ten,
Like the cowboys of old,
Who draw at one.

At last, behold!
Takeoff!
A Mexican standoff.
Lose the shoes and the tie,
And aim towards the sky.

Boldly fly,
As Bulldogs descry
The Final Frontier,
bullet escapologists.

Into the heavens,
After the draw,
Holster and all,
Shuttle AWOL!
Til’ the cows come home.

What happens? Unknown
Only to those undone.
But the bulldog will stay in flight
with a cowboy to hitchhike.

For more poems by Derek Hobson, visit his Article Archive