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When I Woke Up I Was a Hippopotamus

When I Woke Up I Was a Hippopotamus

5.0 1
by Tom MacRae, Ross Collins (Illustrator)

"When I woke up I was a Hippopotamus! Yawning in the morning, I raised up my sleepy head, then took one look out of the window and got straight back into bed." A little boy transforms into different creatures as his moods change throughout the day, until finally he goes a little too far and discovers his parents have transformed too!


"When I woke up I was a Hippopotamus! Yawning in the morning, I raised up my sleepy head, then took one look out of the window and got straight back into bed." A little boy transforms into different creatures as his moods change throughout the day, until finally he goes a little too far and discovers his parents have transformed too!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The narrator of this mischief-laden story is willing to imagine he's anything—as long as it's not well-behaved or human. To the delight of his peers and the consternation of adults, he's a sluggish hippo when the alarm rings, an uncoordinated robot at breakfast ("robots can't eat cornflakes./ Dad's words did not compute"), a statue when he needs to get out the door, a monkey in the classroom, a rocket ship on the way home, and a destructive giant in his room ("that's just how giants play./ We're big and loud and noisy./ We don't know another way"). But when the boy pushes his parents over the edge, he sees the wisdom of pretending to be "a nice thing" (himself) that they can cuddle and fuss over. MacRae's (Baby Pie) verse gets a good boost from Collins (Doodleday), who manages the boy's transformations and accompanying chaos in sprawling, detailed watercolor cartoons that evince a firm but funny hand. Readers should especially appreciate how this competent, confident hero remains in control of his destiny and lives to pretend another day. Ages 4�9. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
A creative boy recounts his day, from its sluggish start (as a hippopotamus who won't get up in the morning) through breakfast as a robot (who won't eat his cereal) through a walk to school (as a statue) and recess-time as a monster. At school's end he is a rocket, and back at home, he's a giant. His parents can't take the noise and undergo a transformation of their own. Quickly, our hero reveals his human form. The evening turns out well for this family, with a robust blend of shared endeavors and imaginative play for all. Topping it all off, a night of "amazing dreams!" Clever watercolor and pen illustrations combine with rhyming text in a delightful, imaginative tale. Eagle-eye young readers will spot hints of this boy's fanciful and energetic pretend identities in the objects spread about his bedroom at the story's beginning. Outlandish and delightful, this book is sure to thrill readers of all ages. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green
Kirkus Reviews

Collins' artwork serves as an immediate draw to this rambunctious tale of a comically shape-shifting young boy.

Energetic illustrations, laden with emotional expressiveness, chronicle the various creatures and things into which the boy morphs, reflecting his changing moods throughout a day. He wakens as a rhinoceros, because, as everybody knows, rhinos don't like to get out of bed. Once up, he changes into a robot, because robots don't particularly like breakfast. At school, he is a monkey before becoming a monster, and so on from there. MacRae's rhymed text is a happy, singsong affair with a few challenging atonal moments that will get readers thinking about meter in poetry. There is a good deal of "telling off" in the tale—which evidently is an expression less vibrant in England, where MacRae lives, than in the United States, where something like "I couldn't sit and listen, / and my work was rather slack. / And when the teacher told me off— / I told her off right back!" might be thought a little cheeky for even a monkey. But the boy becomes milquetoast upon a change of form in his parents—here there be dragons—shape-shifting himself into a kid, and a sweet one at that.

A sweet, if literal exploration of changing moods, it will likely have readers imagining their own transformations. (Picture book. 4-9)

Product Details

Andersen Press USA
Publication date:
Andersen Press Picture Books Series
Product dimensions:
9.76(w) x 11.35(h) x 0.35(d)
AD520L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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When I Woke up I Was a Hippopotamus 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most little boys wake up in the morning with tousled hair, but one day when a little guy woke up he was a big old hippopotomus stuffed into some very tight jammies. When Mom came in to get him up he simply snuggled under his covers a bit more and held onto his teddy bear because "hippos in their sludge don't get up in the morning." No can do. When he finally decided to get up and head for the breakfast table he turned into a robot and slowly ate his Limopops, the kind that were "so limey they make the milk green." Of course his Dad was not at all happy that he was so slow and just didn't understand that his "words did not compute." Robots have to analyze things. When it was time to head off to school he could see a little girl walking nicely with her Mommy, but the little boy had turned into a statue. "I couldn't move a muscle. / I couldn't blink an eye. / I couldn't lift a finger. / I couldn't breathe a sigh." As everyone knows it's very difficult to move a statue and Mom and Dad just couldn't budge it. School was a busy place and the perfect place to be a little monkey. Some of the children laughed at the sight of a monkey in the classroom, but the teacher was very displeased. Playtime was the best time when he turned into a "scritchy-scratchy monster with then scritchy-scratchy claws." Everything was going fine and dandy until he pushed his parents just a bit too far later in the day. All of a sudden the little boy "didn't feel so brave." What would happen if he wasn't allow to pretend any more? Would he have any fun at all? This is a wondrously wild and imaginative tale of a little boy who transforms into magical creatures "as his moods change." If you've listened to any child when they don't think you're around you'll hear them as they drift into their own world of magical thoughts and creations. I fell in love with this little boy as he changed into different critters throughout the day, much to the exasperation of others around him. The beautifully detailed watercolors were charming and perfectly captured the humor of this youngster's vivid imagination. I especially liked the ten-eyed purple people eating monster that was chasing all the children on the playground. This book, which will give your little one a case of the giggles, is perfect for everyone who appreciates a fun, imaginative tale! This book courtesy of the publisher.