That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile! by Sean Taylor and Laurent Cardon

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That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile! by Sean Taylor and Laurent Cardon

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Rachael Spencer
Reviewed by Rachael Spencer
Summary: What would you do if a hippopotamus turned up on your doorstep? Sean Taylor tells you exactly the things that will make a hippo your life long friend in this fun, playful book illustrated by Laurent Cardon.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: July 2014
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
ISBN: 978

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All hippopotamuses want to do is play in the bath and eat salady things. If you follow these instructions then any hippopotamus who turns up at your house will be thrilled to call you their friend; just don't forget to open the door very w i d e when they arrive, otherwise they'll never get in!

This is a really fun book to read, and makes for a very entertaining way to pass some time with the kids. The idea is a nice,  basic one which leads to much hilarity, and gives plenty of scope for silly ideas outside of the book itself. There isn't too much text on each page, and I like the half rhymes which give it a nice rhythm without tying the text to a rigid verse style like a lot of picture books. The way in which some of the text mirrors the words works well, such as a larger font for the word 'size', which livens up the pages a little more and makes it all the more fun to read aloud. 

The illustrations are big and bold, matching the content of the book well, though there are one or two pages which I found a little dark and maybe could have benefitted from brightening up a little. I like the simple style, which focuses the eye on the image directly related to the text, and I could easily see this being taken up as a series of books. 

Having the repetition of Because... On every other page is a nice, simple way of keeping attention focused on the book, and will no doubt get some kids guessing and shouting out. I like the way each section of the hippo's visit is split over two pages, giving the whole book a segmented feel which makes it a more manageable read for much younger children.

This style of book is the sort that works well with a group of children, for say a story time or bedtime reading with more than one child, as it spans age groups well. Younger children will be able to laugh at the lively images and ideas, while older children will be able to appreciate some of the more subtle humour in the illustrations and more than likely come up with scenarios of their own for such a situation. 

I very much hope we'll find out what happens next time Hippo comes back... with his friends!

If you love this, then there's no way you won't enjoy The Slightly Annoying Elephant by David Walliams and Tony Ross!

Buy That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile! by Sean Taylor and Laurent Cardon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile! by Sean Taylor and Laurent Cardon at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile! by Sean Taylor and Laurent Cardon at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile! by Sean Taylor and Laurent Cardon at Amazon.com.


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