Hippo dreams of “a good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving.”
It’s not all smooth sailing. Hippo is raking and dreaming of Thanksgiving goodies when Duck plunges into Hippo’s leaf pile and musses it up. When a falling apple bonks Hippo on the head and he then gives it to Duck, Duck thanks him, triggering an invitation to celebrate the day together. The two friends go off to shop and find themselves in mishap after mild mishap, meeting friends and inviting them one by one to Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow. Duck engages in mild tomfoolery, but Hippo maintains his genial calm. That evening, Duck goes back to their friends and suggests that they plan a surprise for Hippo. The next day, Hippo prepares a delicious assortment of traditional (all vegetarian) dishes and then waits for his friends—who show up late with their surprise: more food (eggrolls, sushi, pizza, and peanut-butter–and-jelly tacos), which temporarily puts Hippo out because it “is NOT a good, old-fashioned Thanksgiving feast!” Hippo rapidly gets over himself, and the friends all have a good time. While the message of enjoying fellowship and valuing each individual’s contributions is a worthy one, this meandering tale offers little to chew on in terms of character development or plot. Joyner’s anthropomorphic cartoon animals are cheery, but his illustrations do nothing to give London’s story any depth.
Empty calories. (Picture book. 5-8)