Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"How to Be a Happy Hippo" by Jonathan Shipton

Age: Picture Book (3+)
Genre: Fiction

I read this story to a class of two-year-olds today, and not only did it not hold their interest, but I found it an incredibly bad use of anthropomorphism. Right from the beginning, you can tell the author has a lesson for parents. The whole book is a lesson. It's like the song "Cats in the Cradle," but with hippos. Where does a hippo go to "work" all day? The hippos are in their natural habitat, not even pretending to be people in clothes. We see the father scurry off to somewhere in the grasslands with nothing in sight. Something keeps him occupied all day, but who knows what? This story is obviously meant to remind the parent reader to spend time with their children and not meant to entertain the child. I child may relate to the story of the hippo, but if this were the author's intent, it would have been better done with human characters.

How to Be a Happy Hippo on bn.com

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