Little Hippo’s day begins stretched out in the grass, enjoying a lazy summer morning. Then, much like a human child, Little Hippo goes off in search of someone to play with and ends up falling behind the herd. Unfortunately for Little Hippo, he becomes an attraction for more and more red-billed birds and soon is covered in them. This proves to be more than Little Hippo can handle, and Mama Hippo comes to the rescue, shooing the birds away. A little solo time—complete with sulking—follows the incident, but Mama is right there to cheer Little Hippo up again. While the story is quite substantial for a board book and may feel familiar to many parents of toddlers, the messages are of differing desirability; the themes of a mother’s love and care are sweet and endearing but a child’s disobedience and sulking engendering no consequences are less so. The cadence of the text is soothing and rhythmic, and Abery’s excellent word choice is sure to expand young readers’ vocabulary (e.g., “hustling,” “bustling,” “nuzzling”). The illustrations are matched well to the text, and while otherwise not particularly noteworthy, do effectively convey the childlike emotions of Little Hippo.
Julie Abery is a children’s author and early childhood educator. Originally from England, she has spent half of her life living in Europe, immersing herself in new languages and cultures. She currently lives in Switzerland.Pierre Pratt is an internationally acclaimed illustrator of over fifty books for children. Pierre’s honors include three Governor General’s Awards for Illustration and a prestigious Golden Apple Award. He divides his time between Lisbon, Portugal, and Montreal, Canada.
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