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THE HIPPO HOP by Christine Loomis


by Christine Loomis & illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-395-69702-6
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

 The pace is swift and the mood upbeat in this be-bopping introduction to creatures both familiar and strange. Where do animals go when the workday's over to unwind? They drop by the Hippo Hop, a happening place with elephants on the slide trombone, apes on bass, and an all-girl troupe of blue baboons to lend accompaniment. As Loomis (One Cow Coughs, 1994) serves up one fine slice of good-time rollicking, she wittily introduces an unusual bestiary to toddlers. Old friends like zebras and monkeys shuck and jive across the page to a tempo set by a rhyming rap text, while the likes of wildebeests, lemurs, yaks, and sloths hotfoot it over the floor (or in the case of the capybaras, perform cleanup). Westcott's richly watercolored fusions of Roz Chast and Ludwig Bemelmans give the animals a quick, goofy edge, maintaining enough detail in the cartoony strokes to indentify each species. Group this with Lloyd Moss's Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin! (p. 390) for a musical outing of a human kind, or Joyce Maxner's Nicholas Cricket (1989) for a demonstration in how the lower forms cut loose. A modest, preschool-sized helping of zoology enjoyably insinuated in verse to chant out loud. (Picture book. 4-7)