4 minute read

Dietlof Reiche (1941-) Biography

Personal, Addresses, Career, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Sidelights

Born 1941, in Dresden, Germany. Education: Technical University (Darmstadt, Germany), degree (mechanical engineering), 1970; additional study in sociology.


Agent—c/o Author Mail, Verlagsgruppe Beltz, Berderstrasse 10, D-69469 Weinheim, Germany.


Hochschulinstitut für Ergonomie, member of staff for four years; freelance writer; graphic designer, 1994-98. Military service: German Federal Armed Forces, c. 1961-64.

Honors Awards

Oldenburger Kinder-und Jugendbuchpreis, 1977, and Deutschen Jugendbuchpreis, 1978, for Der Bleisiegefälscher; arbeitsstipendium, Hessischen Minister für Kunst und Wissenschaft, 1985; Kurzgeshichtenpreise, Hamburger Abendblattes, 1988.



Der Bleisiegelfälscher: Dieser Roman spielt im Jahre 1613 in d. Freien Reichsstadt Nördlingen, Anrich (Modaultal-Neunkirchen), 1977, reprinted, Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 2004.

Der verlorene Frühling: d. Geschichte von Louise Coith u.d. Lokomotivheizer Hannes Bühn, d. zum Barrikadenbauer wurde: Frankfurt 1948, Anrich (Modaultal-Neunkirchen, Germany), 1979, reprinted, Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 2002.

Wie Spreuvor dem Wind, Anrich (Modaultal-Neunkirchen, Germany), 1981.

Geisterschiff, C. Hanser (Münich, Germany), 2002, translated by John Brownjohn as Ghost Ship, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.

Zeit der Freiheit (title means "Time of the Liberty"), Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 2003.


Freddy. Ein wildes Hamsterleben, Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 1998, translated by John Brownjohn as I, Freddy, illustrations by Joe Cepeda, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2003.

Freddy. Ein Hamster lebt gefährlich, Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 1999, translated by John Brownjohn as Freddy in Peril, illustrations by Joe Cepeda, Scholastic Press (New York, NY), 2004.

Freddy. Ein Hamster greift ein, Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 2000, translated by John Brownjohn as Freddy to the Rescue, illustrations by Joe Cepeda, Scholastic (New York, NY), 2005.

Freddy und die Frettchen des Schrekens, Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 2001.

Freddy. Ein Hamster ist verliebt (title means "Freddy: A Hamster Falls in Love"), Beltz & Gelberg (Weinheim, Germany), 2003.


The "Golden Hamster Saga" was adapted as a series of German-language audiobooks by Beltz & Gelberg.


Originally a student of mechanical engineer, Dietlof Reiche worked as an engineer and a graphic artist while also gaining reknown as an author of young-adult novels in his native Germany. Winning several prestigious awards for his first historical novel, Der Bleisiegelfälscher: Dieser Roman spielt im Jahre 1613 in d. Freien Reichsstadt Nördlingen, Reiche went on to pen several more historicals before turning to lighter fare with his ongoing "Golden Hamster Saga." Beginning in 1998 with Freddy. Ein wildes Hamsterleben, the series numbered five volumes by 2004; the first three—I, Freddy, Freddy in Peril, and Freddy to the Rescue—are also available for English readers in editions illustrated by Joe Cepeda.

I, Freddy is a creative tale about an extremely intelligent golden-furred hamster. Freddy has the ability to use a computer and communicate with his owner, a book translator named Mr. John. Due to his unusual talent and determination, Freddy decides to write his autobiography and publish it on the Internet. However, in doing so he attracts the attention of the wicked Professor Fleischkopf, who hopes to capture the ambitious rodent and tap his unique ability. A Kirkus Reviews contributor referred to the first volume in the "Golden Hamster Saga" as "a cliffhanger written with literary polish," while Elaine E. Knight commented in School Library Journal that "this engaging story will appeal to fans of animal fantasies."

Picking up where the first book left off, Freddy in Peril finds the articulate hamster in the clutches of the dastardly Fleischkopf, who intends to kill Freddy and dissect his tiny hamster brain in order to determine what has caused his extraordinary level of intelligence. However, with the help of good friends Sir William the civilized tomcat and a pair of guinea pigs named Enrico and Caruso, Freddy survives the horrible ordeal. The hamster again joins forces with his friends in Freddy to the Rescue, as a group of field-dwelling hamsters find their home turf threatened by the construction of an automobile plant. "Freddy may have a tiny body, but his personality is oversized, and kids will be won over by German author Dietlof Reiche begins his "Gold Hamster Saga" with this comical novel, which has been translated into eleven languages and captivated young fans throughout the world. (Illustration by Joe Cepeda.) his always confident, sometimes petulant voice," predicted Eva Mitnick in School Library Journal. Jennifer Locke, reviewing the series for Booklist, added: "Witty prose, snappy dialogue, endearing characters, and a liberal scattering of stylized, bland-and-white illustrations" combine in an appealing series.

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, April 1, 2003, Kay Weisman, review of I, Freddy, p. 1398; April 1, 2004, Jennifer Locke, review of Freddy in Peril, p. 1364.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2003, review of I, Freddy, p. 756; April 1, 2004, review of Freddy in Peril, p. 336.

Publishers Weekly, May 26, 2003, review of I, Freddy, p. 70.

School Library Journal, November, 2003, Elaine E. Knight, review of I, Freddy, p. 113; May, 2004, Eva Mitnick, review of Freddy in Peril, p. 122.


Dietlof Reiche Web site, http://www.dreiche.de/ (February 28, 2005).

Verlagsgruppe Beltz Web site, http://www.beltz.de/ (February 28, 2005).*

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Dudley Randall Biography - A Poet from an Early Age to Ferrol Sams Jr Biography