Explore The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Red book cover of The World According to Humphrey with a furry hamster face peeking through the center

You can learn a lot about life by observing another species. Meet Humphrey the hamster, the classroom pet of Room 26. Humphrey narrates his adventures and experiences inside the classroom and out. With his sense of humor, wisdom and cheerful attitude, he makes a positive difference in the students and staff at Longfellow School. 

Join Book Explorers for book discussions and activities exploring this laugh-out-loud funny book!

Check out The World According to Humphrey from Denver Public Library to get started.

Librarian Kristin shares why you should read this book:

Dive deeper into the world of Room 26 with these discussion questions:

Talking about a book before and after reading can build background knowledge and reading comprehension--two essential reading skills. Plus it's a fun way to engage with kids!

  • Ms. Mac said, “You can learn a lot about yourself by taking care of another species.”  What do you think Ms. Mac meant by saying this?  What do you think you could learn by getting to know another species?
  • Compare and contrast Ms. Mac and Mrs. Brisbane.  How are they different?  How are they alike?
  • Discuss the home lives of the children in Room 26.  What did you learn about the different cultures and family situations of the children?
  • Humphrey was a good friend to the children and families from Room 26.  What makes a good friend?

For the book club experience from home, join librarians Kristin and Val for this video discussion:

Make your own journal with instructions from librarian Val:

More activities

  • Draw a map of Humphrey’s ultimate hamster cage layout.
  •  Draw a picture of an animal you would like as a class pet. Would it be a real animal? A mythical animal? A dragon? Half lion and half horse? Get creative. Could you give it a name?

​What to read next

Try these other books with animal narrators:

  • Read the rest of the books in the World According to Humphrey series by Betty G. Birney, including Friendship According to Humphrey and Trouble According to Humphrey.
  • Stay by Bobbie Pyron - Some chapters in this book are written from Piper's perspective. She's a kid whose family moves into a shelter for families who need homes. Some chapters are told from the point of view of Baby, a dog whose person lives in the shelter, too. If you’re a kid who is interested in learning more about the world from the perspective of a sweet and funny dog, then this might be the book for you.
  • Wedgie and Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors - Gizmo is a guinea pig who likes things just so. When his owner Elliot’s dad marries someone new, Gizmo and his human family move in with a new human family--and a new dog named Wedgie. Wedgie is happy and goofy and definitely gets in the way of Gizmo’s plans.

How about some funny classroom stories?

  • Twins by Varian Johnson, illustrated by Shannon Wright - In this graphic novel, twins Maureen and Francine have to figure out how to be themselves--and still get along as siblings--at the start of their sixth-grade year.
  • Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian - This is another laugh-out-loud funny book told in the first person about trouble at school. Except this one is about a human kid instead of a hamster. Omar is trying to get along in a new school, and not everything goes as planned. He shares his adventures with readers in this book written like a notebook with doodle illustrations.

Join Book Explorers for more book discussions and activities.

For a book club you can do at home, anytime, try this printable activity sheet:

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