A girl learns about pygmy and common hippos from the animals themselves in this irreverent and very funny series opener. Eaton's concise narration serves as a kind of straight man to the animals' plucky one-liners and commentary. "A common hippo can weigh as much as four cows," he notes, as an accompanying cartoon shows a lollipop-licking hippo sitting opposite four cows on a seesaw. "This doesn't feel safe," says one of the cows. "It's not," quips the girl, who's also on the seesaw. A subplot has a hippo calf trying to find its mother, and Eaton mischievously undercuts their happy reunion with details about threats facing hippos ("We were having a moment," complains the mother hippo). Kids who need convincing that learning can be fun need look no further for proof. Also available: The Truth About Bears. Ages 4-8. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Feb.)Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 1-3--Accompanied by cartoon, comic book--like illustrations, information on the common hippo and the pygmy hippo is presented in a comedic fashion. The text moves along quickly with a factual sentence or two per page, while speech bubbles contain jokes and silly commentary. Their habitats, diets, activities, and bodies, including a nice sight gag on their bathroom habits, are covered. Additional brief facts are set in colorful boxes. Kids will enjoy the humor as the cute hippos are personified. The pygmy hippo, for example, describes itself as "small but sassy." In a sweet side story, a baby hippo searches for its oblivious mother throughout. The last spread succinctly recaps facts and jokes as well as includes books for further research, one for kids and one for adults. The slight back matter makes this more appropriate for browsing and a quick laugh rather than reports. VERDICT Consider for an educational storytime or to motivate reluctant readers.--Elissa Cooper, Helen Plum Memorial Library, Lombard, ILCopyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.