This week brings a special edition of Nori's Sunday Street Team. Hippopotamister is the first children's book I'll be reviewing for the SST and I'm very excited for this to be the first entry. It's fun, it's pretty, and hey, it includes animals of many varieties.
The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run-down and falling apart. Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.
John Patrick Green grew up on Long Island and has worked in New York City since graduating from the School of Visual Arts with a degree in graphic design. He was the comics consultant for Disney Adventures magazine, where he wrote and often drew the popular Last Laugh feature. John is the co-creator and illustrator of the graphic novel series Jax Epoch and the Quicken Forbidden and Teen Boat!, both with writer Dave Roman. He has also worked as a writer, illustrator, or designer on comics and graphic novels for Nickelodeon Magazine, DreamWorks, Scholastic Graphix, and DC Comics. John lives in Brooklyn with zero cats and way too many LEGOs.
Rating: 4 Stars
This was a fun read. The ridiculousness of the plot actually became part of the experience. I know you would never see these animals doing the things they do in the book in real life, but it was fantastical and fun. It reminded me of a short before a Disney/Pixar movie.
Hippo was a great character, a gentle giant if you will. He goes along with the schemes of his friend, Red Panda, and starts out very shaky. As they go through more and more jobs, I actually saw Hippo getting better. He really picked up on a variety of skills at each job, like management and cooking, all while Red Panda was messing things up as the physical comedy of the piece.
I think the most impressive job was when Hippo became a chef.
There are a lot of people I know that couldn't cook half so well as this creature that has no thumbs!
The art was beautiful. I thought that it might have been hand painted, but at the end I discovered a note that said it was hand drawn, but colored and finalized on a computer. I like that the author was able to retain that hand painted quality while still using modern technology without making it look overdone.
Hippo and Red Panda's journey is a lot of fun and shows that you don't have to settle for what life has given you, though maybe there is something to it at the end of the day.
As a special treat and part of the tour, I'm able to share with you an illustration that will only be shown on my blog (until publication that is!). Allow me to present Mr. Hip Hop Hippo!
There are so many of us involved in this tour and I hope you'll take a moment to read my fellow SST members thoughts on this book.
Elle Parker (http://www.perusingpages.com)
Briana (Pages Unbound - pagesunbound.wordpress.com)
Melanie Hays (Melaniehays.wordpress.com)
Lynette Floyd (Charmingly Simple)
Amber Mann (http://bookstacksamber.wordpress.com)
Mia Swartz (Mandemread.blogspot.com)
Trisha Loehr (http://trishajennreads.com)
Ashlynn King (Library)
Kattie Sivley (www.vivacioushobo.com)
Marcilia Loubach (www.theplotbunny.com)
Stephanie Torina (http://readingwithcupcakes.blogspot.com/)
All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.