Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This adaptation of a Paxton song is a solid base hit. The childlike plot revolves around two rival teams, the cocky and confident monkeys, and the initially clumsy and lumbering hippos. Things look bleak for the hippos throughout most of the innings--"Missing pitches, dropping fly balls,/ Tripping over feet,/ Nervously they thought about/ The team they could not beat"--and the monkeys don't help matters by jeering at them. But the champs have to eat their taunting refrain ("Whacka, whacka, hoo boy,/ Tie 'em with a rope./ Poor old hippos/ Haven't got a hope!") when the hippos bounce back and trounce them in the final inning. Schmidt's (Going to the Zoo) chipper watercolor and gouache illustrations keep good time with Paxton's mildly peppery light verse. Brightly bordered pages embellished with jungle and baseball motifs (hotdogs, popcorn, leafy vines) alternate with borderless vistas, enlivening the visual flow, and the chubby hippos, suited up in pink shirts and palm-tree patterned shorts, are particularly fetching. All in all, a sporting good day at the ball park. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Songwriter Paxton applies his musical gifts in a new baseball songbook. This rhythmic recounting of a game between the hippos and monkeys is filled with the excitement of a close game. The illustrations are bright, and you just have to love the underdog team! This introduces the sport of baseball in a way younger children can understand and appreciate.
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-A lively offering from the duo that produced Going to the Zoo (Morrow, 1996). This time, the action centers on a hotly contested baseball game as the underdogs challenge the champs and carry the day. Dressed in pink shirts and flowered shorts, the hippo team is derided and discounted by the confident monkey players, looking smart in their blue uniforms. At first, the portly, uncoordinated hippos trip over their own feet but they soon decide they've had enough and buckle down to win the game, much to the chagrin of their competitors. Paxton's rhyming verses build the drama of this comeback with each line as first the hippos score to go ahead and then hold off a late-inning surge by the other team. Schmidt's watercolor-and-gouache illustrations give the words a lively energy, portraying the monkeys literally hanging around near their clubhouse, dancing around the baseball diamond, ridiculing their opponents, and finally scrambling unsuccessfully to grab victory from the jaws of defeat. The hippos, with their names inscribed on their pink shirts ("Slammin' Sally" and "Merve the Curve"), thunder earnestly around the field, first in confusion and then in victory. Music with a single-line melody and the first verse of the song adorns the end pages. An inventive sports story that's perfect for storytime or lap sharing.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY