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HATTIE HIPPO by Christine Loomis


by Christine Loomis & illustrated by Robert Neubecker

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2006
ISBN: 0-439-54340-1
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

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)