At first mention of the name zhu zhu, you might respond with “gesundheit”, but many of you know it’s a scurrying, talking hamster that is out of stock in-stores everywhere.

They come with different colors, names and personalities, have a nose “sensor” to move around obstacles, different modes for “sleep” or “play” and have several different accessories sold separately. Let’s take an up-close look at this wish-listed item.

Once I got it out of the box (it’s adult-proofed, secured and meets toy-packing regulations), my kids were excited to play with it. My youngest cuddled it and my oldest decided to call it Jerry, a.k.a. Pipsqueak. Here is my first impression of the zhu zhu hamster in-person and the reactions of my kids, ages 2 and 4.

1. He’s cute and squeezable. I like the idea of giving him batteries rather than hamster pellets and you don’t need to give the “don’t squeeze him too hard” speech.

2. He’s funny and entertaining. Although the noises and sounds are not too realistic and included the musical “charge” chant you hear at sporting events, they made the kids and me laugh.

3. He maneuvers pretty well. He did get stuck on objects once in a while, but it was fun to see him scamper, back up and move his way around the room. He did have one moment of unstoppable spinning, not sure if it was a blip or he was excited.

4. You must get one hamster per child. To avoid fights, hair pulling and other shenanigans, I would recommend giving each child it’s own pet.

Let’s wrap it up with the good, the bad and the free.

The Good: It’s an entertaining gift for your child and scurries around like the real-deal without the extra maintenance. It has accessories sold-separately, including it’s own, no-mess home with many additional attachments, but they are not necessary for the fun.

The Bad: Watch for warnings, like keep away from hair. Make sure you have enough room to display the house if you purchase accessories and enough time to assemble it. Also, all of the accessories can add up.


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