Little Hippo loves to pretend that he's all grown up. And playing doctor with all the other animals in the savannah is an excellent game until he tries to examine a ferocious lion. In this playful picture book by the author of the Froggy books, Little Hippo learns that Mama's medicine is the best of all. Readers who love Maisy and Little Bear will surely love Little Hippo, an endearing character with a big curiosity and a lot of spunk. This is the first of several books about ...
Little Hippo loves to pretend that he's all grown up. And playing doctor with all the other animals in the savannah is an excellent game until he tries to examine a ferocious lion. In this playful picture book by the author of the Froggy books, Little Hippo learns that Mama's medicine is the best of all. Readers who love Maisy and Little Bear will surely love Little Hippo, an endearing character with a big curiosity and a lot of spunk. This is the first of several books about this adventurous new character.
Froggy creator London introduces a new character, a serious hippo who “didn’t like being little” and yearns for grownup roles. But Little Hippo quickly discovers that playing doctor is not all that glamorous. Big Hippo has halitosis, a louche hyena kicks when his feet are examined, and Lion makes it loud and clear that that the last thing he wants is an eye exam (Lion’s roar, which takes up an entire page, is one of many sound cues). But Mama Hippo makes it all better with her own pretend doctoring, and clearly she’s board-certified in affirmation: “Your tongue is as pink as a rose petal,” she tells her chastened son. “And your skin is as soft as a peach.” Brazilian illustrator Eduar (Gigi and Zachary Go to Work) has an expressive, clear-line style and a quirky palette (palm trees come in a variety of shades); it’s a whimsical counterpoint to London’s matter-of-fact prose. There are more memorable books on this theme, but if the reading prescription calls for sweet and simple, especially at bedtime, this may prove just as effective. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)
- Susan Treadway M.Ed.
Lively text is accentuated by onomonopia as Little Hippo attempts to make his rounds among a variety of wild animals dressed as a real doctor. He simply wants to be big. However, each one makes it challenging for him in a particular way as youngsters easily recognize behavior traits. Hippo climbs a very shaky ladder to examine giraffe's tongue high in the tree tops, but is toppled by a very long and sticky lick. He jumps away just as Giant Crocodile quickly snaps close to shore. Big Hippo and Laughing Hyena are rather safe to look over. Unfortunately, Elephant sneezes causing Doctor Hippo to roll right up to Lion's feet. With a mighty roar Little Hippo wails all the way home since he feels rather small. Mother knows he doesn't feel well and takes over as the doctor. A familiar sequence follows to insure that Little Hippo is fine by describing physical characteristics using figurative language and mother's reassurances. Next, Little Hippo sneezes and grins as both doctors say goodnight. Thus, interactive text accompanies child-like illustrations as the author of the "Froggy" books now has another favorite character to share. Pretending is featured in a charming, delightful story for young readers, but also for act-outs, reader's theater, or read-aloud. Reviewer: Susan Treadway, M.Ed.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Little Hippo likes pretending that he is big, and one day he dresses like a doctor and goes outside to check on his animal friends on the African plains. Unfortunately, he has some difficult cases. Taking a look at Big Hippo's teeth, he is overcome by his patient's "marsh muck" breath. Very Tall Giraffe has a long sticky tongue with which he proceeds to "sluuuuurrrrrrrrp" Little Hippo. Giant Crocodile snaps, and Laughing Hyena is ticklish. And so on until Lion's "RAAAAAAHHHRRRRRRR!" has the youngster running home to tell Mama that he doesn't feel so well anymore. After a reassuring checkup, nice bath, and big hug from Doctor Mommy, Little Hippo is ready for a good night's sleep. The cartoonlike illustrations are done in gouache and nicely complement the simple text. Children will relate to the feeling of being lost in a big person's world, and they will enjoy joining in to snap, sneeze, and roar with each animal that Little Hippo meets. A humorous addition for storytimes about mother-child relationships, animals, or imagination.—Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA
London's newest character, Little Hippo, is big on imagination, even if he is a pint-sized pretend doctor. Who knew that a day of visiting patients could be so difficult? Big Hippo has powerfully bad breath, a check of Very Tall Giraffe's tongue leads to a sticky licking and Little Hippo must make do with a visual inspection of Giant Crocodile's skin. His last three patients prove no better. In fact, Lion, who apparently does not want an eye exam, roars so loudly that he frightens poor Little Hippo, who runs back to Mama Hippo for a checkup of his own. The final scenes show readers just where Little Hippo learned how to be such a good doctor and will have them wondering if Little Hippo's adventure really happened. The characters in Eduar's retro-feeling gouache artwork are reminiscent of those in the Babar stories, but his landscape is rather Seuss-ian, with imaginatively colored trees and grasses. Simple backgrounds and details keep readers' focus on the characters, especially Little Hippo and his expressive face. Small charm aside, this slight tale can't hold a candle to Andrea Beaty's Doctor Ted (2008), and Little Hippo lacks the charm and easy language of London's more-famous Froggy, to whom readers can relate. Sweet but not filling. (Picture book. 3-5)
Jonathan London is the author of more than eighty books for children, including the Froggy books. He lives in Graton, California.
Gilles Eduar is the author and illustrator of Gigi and Zachary Go to Work, Dream Journey, and Jooka Saves the Day. He has illustrated more than twenty books, ten of which were first published in France. He lives in Brazil.