Help me find this children's book about a girl and her hamster
July 21, 2011 8:12 AM   Subscribe

Help me find a half-remembered children's book about a little girl and her pet, and what they say when they get the chance to speak one sentence to each other.

This book is extremely vague in my memory but it made a big impression on me. I've been thinking about it for years on and off.

It was a kid's book which I would have read in the 80s/early 90s, although it could have been from any time before then.

The basic plot is that of a little girl (could have been a boy but think it was more likely a girl) with a pet. (I seem to remember the pet being either a hamster or a guinea-pig, or some kind of cage-dwelling animal, but again it was a long time ago.) I think it had illustrations, but wasn't necessarily a picture book.

For some reason the girl and the pet both realise that they are going to have a chance to speak to each other, but only one phrase/sentence. I have a vague recollection that this happens on the stroke of midnight or noon. The girl spends all day thinking about what to say to the hamster/pet/whatever it was and when it comes down to it they both say to each other:

'I love you'

Yes, it does sound super sappy, but it was cute, and googling has led me precisely nowhere.

Has anyone else ever heard of this or did I dream it?
posted by Encipher to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Something by Rumer Godden, I think. Animals could speak at the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve... I'll go see if I can find it.
posted by likeso at 8:15 AM on July 21, 2011

(there was a similar scene in The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle)
posted by likeso at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2011

Response by poster: Rumer Godden sounds plausible, but I've been looking at all her kid's books and there's nothing that seems to fit. I wonder if I've forgotten something vital about the story. Maybe it was something to do with a wish?
posted by Encipher at 9:14 AM on July 21, 2011

Jinx! Just coming in here to report failure. I'm sorry. Maybe I was conflating her with Paul Gallico - similar "flavor", there's midnight magic in Manxmouse...

And I'm beginning to think the book could have been something like a Little Golden Book or somesuch, because it was apparently a common European folkloric belief.

(Oh, and in The Last Unicorn, the cat spoke when the clock struck thirteen and provided clues to the unicorn's whereabouts.)
posted by likeso at 9:24 AM on July 21, 2011

Best answer: The Day the Guinea Pig Talked by Paul Gallico? If not, read it anyway, it's lovely... I won't spoil things by telling you what they say to each other when the clock strikes midnight...
posted by sianifach at 2:00 PM on July 21, 2011

Best answer: Ignore last sentence - I obviously didn't read your question to the end!
posted by sianifach at 2:01 PM on July 21, 2011

Response by poster: Yes! That's it! Thank you so much! Ask Metafilter does it again. You have made me extremely happy.

Thanks also to likeso for suggesting Rumer Godden, I had totally forgotten this amazing author and now have lots of book shopping to do.

Can't wait to read the guinea-pig book again. Hooray!
posted by Encipher at 2:11 PM on July 21, 2011

Glad to have found a fellow fan of that book!
posted by sianifach at 2:14 PM on July 21, 2011

You're kidding! It was by Paul Gallico? Yay for sianifach! Now I have some book shopping to do, too. :)
posted by likeso at 2:34 PM on July 21, 2011

Ok, I know nothing about this book or author but just wanted to say the description and what the girl and pet say to each other had me tear up just a little bit....
posted by Nathanial Hörnblowér at 2:49 PM on July 21, 2011

Response by poster: Me too! I think it stuck in my mind because I was a child when I read it and I thought 'Why would they waste their time together saying that? Why didn't she ask what it's like to be a guinea-pig and run around in a wheel all day?'

And as I got older, I remembered the story and understood it a little bit better.... That's good writing for kids, I think.
posted by Encipher at 1:12 AM on July 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

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