It would be great fun to bring an actual hamster to your storytime to go along with the following books. Maybe a local pet store would loan one to the library; as far as I know, gerbils are illegal to import into California. For a craft ideas, go to artistshelpingchldren.org.
Rathmann, Peggy. 10 MINUTES TILL BEDTIME. The countdown begins as a child gets ready for bed, by reading to pet hamsters, taking a bath, dressing in pajamas, etc.
Suen, Anastasia. HAMSTER CHASE. Using the characters created by Ezra Jack Keats, this easy reader describes the class pet getting loose.
Baker, Alan. BENJAMIN’S PORTRAIT. A hamster tries his paw at portrait painting.
Inkpen, Mick. KIPPER AND ROLY. Kipper buys Roly the hamster as a gift for Pig, but soon decides he can’t part with him!
Kirk, Daniel. BUS STOP, BUS GO. A hamster gets loose on the school bus.
Brown, Marc. ARTHUR AND THE SCHOOL PET. D.W. volunteers to take care of the class gerbil during Christmas vacation.