A little girl's hippo friend is a bit of a handful around the house.
She opens the door—which is only wide enough to accommodate the hippo's head—and invites him inside. His bulk brings a fair amount of the wall with him. (Throughout, Taylor's text is straightforward and earnest while Cardon's illustrations milk the situation outrageously in a dozen double-page spreads.) Next, it's time for water games, which include lots of squirting and a raucous splash in the bathtub, full of toys—and what's that frog doing there? The little girl gives the hippo a good scrubbing, then feeds him some delicious green branches. A big crunchy salad treat is far preferable to popcorn, chips or cookies. Their day of fun ends all too soon, but it's important to “[s]ay goodbye in style," because that will make your new hippopotamus friend smile. And he might bring a friend of his own on the next play date. Taylor's tale, while delivering a nice message on friendship, seems abbreviated, and the setup is awfully reminiscent of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and its many spinoffs. Cardon's pictures, combining mixed ink and digital techniques, are quirky and bright, with simple bold shapes that should appeal to the target audience.
Nice but not memorable. (Picture book. 3-5)