Don't sugarcoat it
It seems harder and harder for parents to swallow stories without their sugar coatings.
I had a good laugh when I went online and found a few reviewers had given "The Great Hamster Massacre" one measly little star for being too graphic for sensitive children.
They either judged the book by its cartoon cover illustration or were so enthralled by Kate Davies' artfully written and detailed warnings contained in the first few chapters that they didn't quite believe she would describe a "massacre" in similar detail.
... or they've never done research on hamsters as pets.
Still, I could understand those parents feeling a little disappointed that they would have to close the book and return to reading from their library of cloyingly brutal unicorn and fairy tales. Overuse of words like "sparkle" and "glitter" can make a parent testy.
Thankfully, I have one of those fabled Viking seven-year-olds who savored Davies' story in all its macabre glory. "The Great Hamster Massacre" proved to be page-turner filled with witty dialog, interesting characters and a perfectly plausible adventure.
Also ... it helped change her mind about wanting a hamster.