The Truth about Hippos (Truth About Your Favorite Animals)

by Maxwell Eaton (Author) Maxwell Eaton (Illustrator)

Did you know that there are two types of hippo: the common hippo and the pygmy hippo (which is like a common hippo but smaller)?Did you know that all hippos live in Africa?Did you know that hippos can't actually swim?Discover these facts and many more in this nonfiction picture-book series that injects humor and bright, vivid animals into popular subjects like bears and hippos.
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Kirkus Reviews

A promising first entry in a new series of picture books introducing iconic mammals to young readers with a sense of humor. 


While the cartoonish artwork, lively tone, and dry humor will give this easy appeal for kiddos, it's still dense enough with science that they'll come away with plenty of facts to spout on their next trip to the zoo.

Hornbook Guide to Children

The truth is...this series may well inspire a new generation of animal scientists and conservationists.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

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.

School Library Journal

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, IL

Copyright 2018 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Maxwell Eaton
Maxwell Eaton III is an author and illustrator of books for children, including the highly acclaimed Flying Beaver Brothers graphic novel series. He lives with his wife, daughter, and two dogs in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. Learn more about Max and his books at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Roaring Brook Press
Publication date
February 27, 2018
Truth about Your Favorite Animals
BISAC categories
JNF003290 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Hippos & Rhinos
Library of Congress categories

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