Hippo-Not-Amus

Overview

From the best-selling illustrator of GIRAFFES CAN'T DANCE, Guy Parker-Rees, comes a silly story about a young hippo trying to be everything he's not.

Portly didn't ask to be a hippo; he was just born that way. And frankly, he's starting to find being a hippo kind of boring - standing in the water all day up to his eyeballs, eating grass - no fun at all! So he embarks on a journey to figure out just what kind of animal to be, and along the way, ...

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Overview

From the best-selling illustrator of GIRAFFES CAN'T DANCE, Guy Parker-Rees, comes a silly story about a young hippo trying to be everything he's not.

Portly didn't ask to be a hippo; he was just born that way. And frankly, he's starting to find being a hippo kind of boring - standing in the water all day up to his eyeballs, eating grass - no fun at all! So he embarks on a journey to figure out just what kind of animal to be, and along the way, meets all kinds of creatures.
As he tries to do everything they do, this heartwarming story of a youngster searching for his identity and trying to be somebody he's not will strike a chord with all readers. Repetitive, silly text and bright illustrations make HIPPO-NOT-AMUS an infectiously fun read.

A young hippopotamus who is bored with his life sets out to discover "just the right kind of animal to be."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this tale of a pink-nosed young hippo named Portly from a husband-and-wife team, the hero spurns his "boring old grass" existence, and visits other animals to see if it might be nicer being them. Waving off his parents' warnings about the impossibility of becoming someone else ("We'll see about that!" he says), Portly rigs up a set of horns so he can be a rhinoceros. He also fashions a trunk from a vine, and leaf ears so he can be an elephant ("I want to smell something when I'm here, and my nose is somewhere else") as well as a pair of stilts so he can be a giraffe. Parker-Ross (Giraffes Can't Dance) provides entertaining vignettes of Portly trying to manage his new accessories; full-bleed spreads also feature the blue skies and baobabs of the African savannah and the brilliant indigo shadows cast by the equatorial sun. Inevitably, the novelty of being someone else palls, and the hippo's parents are happy to have him home. " `Excuse me,' said Mom, knowing who it was but not letting on. `What sort of creature are you?' `I'm a hippo-gir-ele-bat-onoceros!' Portly said proudly." With relief he jumps into the river; all his special equipment falls symbolically to the bottom. Portly is an appealing hero, the Paynes' patter remains perky and the episodic quality of the story keeps things moving. Ages 4-8. (Feb.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Portly, a young hippo, decides that being a hippo is boring; he'd like to be something else. Despite his parents' warning that such a thing is impossible, the determined Portly sets out. "We'll see about that," is his comment, as he is told by one creature after another that he can't be like them. He ties on horns like a rhino, tries hanging upside-down like a bat, makes himself ears and a trunk of sorts like an elephant, walks on stilts like a giraffe. But finally, feeling hungry, he returns home as a hippo-gir-ele-bat-onoceros. Assured by his welcoming mom and dad that he can still eat grass, he is delighted to go back to being himself. But as the zany saga ends, he is looking thoughtfully at the monkeys in the trees... Although the text encourages the reader to anticipate each adventure, the sketchy, intensely colored pictures provide fresh insights into Portly's ridiculous attempts to change himself. Double-page scenes emphasize the jungle's lushness, while the many action shots showing his failures are set against the white page, enhancing their comic conclusions. Portly's good-hearted attempt to master stilts are particularly amusing. 2004 (orig. 2003), Orchard Books/Scholastic, Ages 3 to 7.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Portly is trying to find his true self. He was born a hippopotamus, but is sick of wading in water and eating boring, old grass. Searching for new possibilities, he sets off on a quest where he encounters a herd of rhinoceros, a bat, an elephant, and a giraffe, and transforms himself into a hippo-gir-ele-bat-onoceros. Each new identity has comical, albeit unsuccessful consequences. His adventures make him long for the cool waters of home and grass. Portly and his parents are glad to be reunited, but when he sees a monkey swinging from tree to tree, he knows his explorations must continue. The artist uses bright, sunny colors, portraying this jungle fantasy through large, eye-catching paintings. Portly's multifaceted personality is well illustrated. While the theme is far from new, children will enjoy the humorous tale and will identify with Portly's desire to try out new personas. A smooth flowing, witty text gives this tale good storytime potential.-Be Astengo, Alachua County Library, Gainesville, FL Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780439564182
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/1/2004
  • Edition description: Library Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 11.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

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