When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus by Tom MacRae and Ross Collins

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When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus by Tom MacRae and Ross Collins

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A wonderful story about the potential pitfalls of an over-active imagination.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Andersen Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1849390736

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A small boy goes through the day imagining that he is a variety of different creatures, everything from a grumpy hippo who doesn't want to get up, to a Robot who can't eat cornflakes or a statue who can't move, can't blink, can't do anything at all! But when he imagines his parents are fierce dragons he finds things have gone a little bit too far...

This is a funny story to share. It reminded me of the Calvin and Hobbes cartoons by Bill Watterson as the little boy gets totally caught up in the stories he's imagining, oblivious of the trouble he's causing along the way. When he gets to school he becomes a monkey, climbing everywhere and, when he gets in trouble with his teacher, he tells her off too! At playtime he turns into a monster, but when he gets told off by the teacher this time he eats her for his lunch (well, in his imagination of course!)

Back at home, later in the day, he is a giant in his bedroom, stomping around noisily. His parents shout up at him to keep the noise down but when he doesn't they come up themselves to tell him off. This time the boy imagines that they are scary dragons, growling and snarling and telling him off. Suddenly the boy doesn't feel so brave, and he explains that he didn't meant to be naughty, he was just having fun pretending things. In the end they suggest he pretends to be something nice, and so he pretends to be himself which leads to a happy tea time, a story with mum, playing pirates at bath time and then snuggling down for bed ready to have some amazing dreams!

It's a wonderful thing when children start to use their imaginations, and this book really demonstrates how you can pretend many different things through the course of a day, but also that sometimes it's better to live in the real world, rather than always in a dreamland. We enjoyed the funny story, and it obviously made an impression on my four year old as she'll now say 'I'm only pretending...just like the hippopotamus boy!'

The story is told in rhyme and is well paced and fun to read. The illustrations work really well with the text and it's fun to look at all the details in the pictures: the name of the breakfast cereal, the different things you can see in the classroom, what all the children are doing in the playground. I liked that although the story shows how using your imagination can get you into trouble, it also demonstrates how using it wisely can be a lot of fun. I especially like the picture of the boy in his bath with a pirate ship with his mum holding a pirate's sword and his dad in a pirate's hat.

This is a great story for toddlers and young school children. It works well on a one to one basis, but I think it would also go down a treat being read aloud to a group of children.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: For more children with fantastic imaginations try the Charlie and Lola books by Lauren Child.

Buy When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus by Tom MacRae and Ross Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus by Tom MacRae and Ross Collins at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus by Tom MacRae and Ross Collins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy When I Woke Up I Was A Hippopotamus by Tom MacRae and Ross Collins at Amazon.com.


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