Fiona, the photogenic baby hippo, returns with a menagerie of baby animal friends.
Although Fiona’s fabulous face graces only the cover and three interior pages of this compact, sturdy board book, the pulchritudinous pachyderm’s eponymous friends provide plenty of interest for animal-loving tots and toddlers. Our hippo heroine’s youthful playmates represent 10 different species and include a baby rhinoceros, a red panda, a takin (a Himalayan gnu goat), a manatee, a giraffe, a flamingo, an aardvark, a tiger, a cheetah, and a gorilla. As in Fiona’s previous board-book outing, Fiona’s Feelings, the photographs from the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s collection are lovingly curated and thoroughly charming. The text is simple, with each animal’s name and species in one line of a rhymed couplet: “Fiona the hippo loves to play. / Let’s meet some of her friends today! // Kendi the rhino, brave and strong. / Cora the giraffe, twisty and long.” It’s not Shakespeare, but it should delight youngsters by capitalizing on their natural fascination with exotic fauna. While Fiona is clearly a star in her own right, the other animal babies in this volume are equally irresistible. Few sights can compete with a hairless, newborn aardvark sleeping peacefully against its mother’s belly.
A winning and wonderful way to foster a child’s fascination for wildlife. (Board book. 6 mos.-3)