London’s newest character, Little Hippo, is big on imagination, even if he is a pint-sized pretend doctor.
Who knew that a day of visiting patients could be so difficult? Big Hippo has powerfully bad breath, a check of Very Tall Giraffe’s tongue leads to a sticky licking and Little Hippo must make do with a visual inspection of Giant Crocodile’s skin. His last three patients prove no better. In fact, Lion, who apparently does not want an eye exam, roars so loudly that he frightens poor Little Hippo, who runs back to Mama Hippo for a checkup of his own. The final scenes show readers just where Little Hippo learned how to be such a good doctor and will have them wondering if Little Hippo’s adventure really happened. The characters in Eduar’s retro-feeling gouache artwork are reminiscent of those in the Babar stories, but his landscape is rather Seuss-ian, with imaginatively colored trees and grasses. Simple backgrounds and details keep readers’ focus on the characters, especially Little Hippo and his expressive face. Small charm aside, this slight tale can’t hold a candle to Andrea Beaty’s Doctor Ted (2008), and Little Hippo lacks the charm and easy language of London's more-famous Froggy, to whom readers can relate.
Sweet but not filling. (Picture book. 3-5)