Published by First Second on May 10th 2016
The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.
Lately I have decided that I am going to start something on my blog to highlight children’s books because not only am I am a mother of children 3 and 1 years old but I am finishing my degree and soon will be an elementary school teacher and hopefully librarian soon. When I was offered a spot on the Hippopotamister SST Tour I thought that this would be the perfect time to start. Technically, I am not including this in my new feature to be named later but I will be working on this more later!
Now, enough with my introduction and on to the review!
The first thing that I have to say is that I felt that this book was absolutely charming! It tells the story two friends; one a hippo and the other a red raccoon trying to find the perfect job. The illustrator does a great job at bringing not only these characters but the setting together into a wonderfully appealing mecha for my eyeballs.
As an adult reading this book the plot was on the easier side of things but I couldn’t help but become hooked! The main character Red Panda and Hippo (who is told by Red Panda that he has to become a Hippoptamister to work in the real world) cycle through various real world occupations – ranging from construction worker to chef to even a hair stylist. The kicker being – Hippo is better at all of the jobs than Red Panda which results in some hilarious hijinks!
Even though this is a children’s book, I feel that Green has made a book that would also appeal to adults as well. The story starts in a zoo – a zoo that’s building and animals that are dirty and broken down. A scene that might make children sad and maybe think is slightly funny appeals to adults sense of the rights of animals and how we treat them. The friendship between Hippo and Red Panda could appeal to adults in the respect that we all have those friends who are nervous about their abilities and struggle to find their way in the world. Heck, that might be you! For those of you who have or work with children Hippopotamister would be a great book to read together.
If you’re looking to make Hippoptomister a gift I would recommend it for a child from the age of 7 to 10 years old. This book is hard to classify as a picture book because it is quite lengthy compared to others in this category so I would recommend giving it to a child that grasps reading and the basics of how to read a graphic novel. This does spread out the words, but personally I have seen some younger children might struggle at how to read the story if they haven’t been introduced to the graphic novel type of book before.
Believe me, pick this book up for your older-ish children!