HATTIE HIPPO

Hattie Hippo is fat. Not surprising, for a hippo, but apparently endlessly amusing. Or that’s what her creators presume. In four short vignettes, Hattie’s size plays the starring role. In “The Ballet,” Hattie twirls and leaps—and misses the two rhinos poised to catch her, landing off-stage (and off page) with, one assumes, an enormous thump. At “The Tea Party,” Hattie greedily gobbles down all the goodies, leaving her guests with none. In “The Swimming Pool,” after squeezing herself into an itsy-bitsy striped bikini, Hattie cannonballs into the blow-up pool and sends all the water splashing out. And in “Hide & Seek,” Hattie hides ineffectually behind various pieces of furniture before falling asleep under the table. Loomis’s jaunty rhymes and Neubecker’s cartoon-style illustrations obviously are intended to amuse. But Hattie is too much of a caricature for kids to connect to, and adults may not be able to get past the very likely unintentional fat-bashing. Disappointing. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-439-54340-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2006

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Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably...

LOST AND FOUND

A lad finds a penguin on his doorstep and resolutely sets out to return it in this briefly told import. 

Eventually, he ends up rowing it all the way back to Antarctica, braving waves and storms, filling in the time by telling it stories. But then, feeling lonely after he drops his silent charge off, he belatedly realizes that it was probably lonely too, and turns back to find it. Seeing Jeffers’s small, distant figures in wide, simply brushed land- and sea-scapes, young viewers will probably cotton to the penguin’s feelings before the boy himself does—but all’s well that ends well, and the reunited companions are last seen adrift together in the wide blue sea. 

Readers who (inexplicably) find David Lawrence’s Pickle and Penguin (2004) just too weird may settle in more comfortably with this—slightly—less offbeat friendship tale. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-399-24503-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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HENRY AND MUDGE AND THE STARRY NIGHT

From the Henry and Mudge series

Rylant (Henry and Mudge and the Sneaky Crackers, 1998, etc.) slips into a sentimental mode for this latest outing of the boy and his dog, as she sends Mudge and Henry and his parents off on a camping trip. Each character is attended to, each personality sketched in a few brief words: Henry's mother is the camping veteran with outdoor savvy; Henry's father doesn't know a tent stake from a marshmallow fork, but he's got a guitar for campfire entertainment; and the principals are their usual ready-for-fun selves. There are sappy moments, e.g., after an evening of star- gazing, Rylant sends the family off to bed with: ``Everyone slept safe and sound and there were no bears, no scares. Just the clean smell of trees . . . and wonderful green dreams.'' With its nice tempo, the story is as toasty as its campfire and swaddled in Stevenson's trusty artwork. (Fiction. 6-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-689-81175-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1998

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