HIPPOPOTAMISTER by John Patrick Green


Age Range: 5 - 8
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A hippo discovers that the possibilities are limitless.

Hippopotamus’ zoo home is in complete disrepair. Since no kids come to visit, the grounds are overgrown, and the animals look unkempt, neglected, and lonely. Bored and frustrated with his life, Hippo leaves the zoo in order to find a job among humans, refashioning himself as a Hippopotamister. But for what profession is a hippo suited? Green’s warm illustrations and graphic-novel presentation create an appealing protagonist for his debut children’s book as both author and illustrator (with finishing touches by colorist Caro). While the story's tone is more lighthearted than the early Babar books, Hippo’s struggle to find his place in the world is reminiscent of that famous elephant’s, and it is one with which readers will undoubtedly identify. Red Panda, Hippo’s madcap sidekick, is his guide to the human world, and with each occupation they attempt, from hairstylists and construction workers to sous-chefs, Hippo learns more about himself and his hitherto-undiscovered talents. This story contains all of the elements that make the quintessential self-discovery tale so rewarding, as Hippo learns that birthplace need not dictate one’s future and that identity and true happiness might lie in merging the new world he discovers with the home he initially leaves.

A charming book with a solid message about changing one’s life through hard work, imagination, and openness to new experiences. (Graphic fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 10th, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-62672-200-2
Page count: 96pp
Publisher: First Second
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2016


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