Friday, December 3, 2010

How to Clean a Hippototamus

How to Clean a Hippopotamus
by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010. 32 pages. Nonfiction

So, do you know why a giraffe lets an oxpecker climb into its ear? How about how a turtle keeps a hippopotamus clean? How to Clean a Hippopotamus explains these and a host (no pun intended) of other amazing symbiotic relationships in nature. The graphic novel format is colorful and interesting, and you are able to follow the progression of the relationships through multiple panels on each page.

Some symbiotic relationships are fairly gross, such as the plover being a crocodile's toothpick, or seagulls prying worms and parasites from a grateful sunfish, and some are fairly violent, such as the teaming up of a badger and a wolf to hunt prairie dogs. However, the beautiful illustrations are collages of cut and torn paper--they are clear and detailed, but not graphic. This book is interesting and delightful at the same time.

To get a taste of what is in store in How to Clean a Hippopotamus, go to How to Clean a Hippopotamus video on Amazon and click on the play button under "Check out related media."

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