Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hippos Are Huge!

Hippos Are Huge!

Written by Johnathon London; Illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Candlewick Press, 2015, Ages 5-8

Johnathan London wrote Hippos Are Huge as a book for entertainment and to inform readers about Hippos would be considered a non-fiction book because it contains facts about the characteristics of Hippos and explains the life of a Hippo. The author does not just state the facts throughout the book, but kind of tells a story of a female Hippo named “Hippo”. It tells how Hippo will mate in the dry season and her baby will be born in the wet season. Hippo is shown swimming in the water and how she will sit and rest while cattle egret eats bugs out of her ears and fish eat the food stuck between her teeth. The reader gets to see two sides of Hippos. They see how dangerous Hippos are with their large mouth and tusks, and that the females are quite nurturing with the babies. 

This book is written in an informational way, and it includes some elements that stand out to a reader. The author used bold text for some of the adjectives used to describe hippos. For example, “Hippos are HUGE!”. The word “huge” is in bold, larger than the rest of the text and all the letters are capitalized to add emphasis. This book also contains onomatopoeia to make the text enjoyable. When two bulls start to fight and are using their tails to swat balls of poop at each other, the author puts in “Splat” and “Splop” to give affect to the fight. This makes the reader feel like he or she can hear the hippos swatting at each other. Throughout the book the author uses adjectives and onomatopoeia to enhance the readers experience. 
Since this book is a picture book, an important element is the illustrations. The illustrations in this book are created with the use of watercolor paints. All the different colors of the hippos, sky and the water mix into each other that gives the illustration a more realistic touch, it is more realistic because there are imperfections. A hippo is not just one color, so the use of water color blends in the pink, purple and grey together. The illustrations develop the text by showing motion underwater and dung being flung from one page to another. The most influential illustration for me would be the page were Hippo is relaxing in the water with only her eyes, ears and nose sticking out of the water. Right under that illustration Hippo is getting her ears cleaned by a cattle egret and her teeth cleaned fish. This shows that hippos are not aggressive with all other animals because they allow others to use them for food. The illustrations in Hippos Are Huge, helps the reader visualize what is going on in the text and further enhances learning. 
Overall, I think this book is an excellent source for educational purposes, but would not be something I would read just for enjoyment. It really depends on the reader. If the reader is really interested in animals, this book would be amazing because it covers all kinds of information about hippos and their life styles. Also, it is full of facts that most people would not know about hippos, for example they are the most dangerous animal in Africa. The story line to the book is not exactly noticeable in the beginning of the book, but eventually starts into telling about the life of a female cow named Hippo.

Reviewed by Rachel Osterloh 

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