I Had a Hippopotamus

Hector Viveros Lee, Author
Hector Viveros Lee, Author Lee & Low Books $14.95 (1p) ISBN 978-1-880000-28-1
Reviewed on: 03/04/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-1-880000-62-5
Board Books - 34 pages - 978-1-880000-96-0
Prebound-Sewn - 978-0-613-10859-1
Portable Document Format (PDF) - 978-1-62014-050-5
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The bestiary that emerges from a box of animal crackers is anything but half-baked when a boy imagines them as living, breathing, purple (and other decidedly unnatural colors-why not?) creatures. These hippos, marabous, rhinos and other exotic fauna offer much more than a cookie ever could. ""I had a kangaroo,"" states the boy. ""But I gave it to my grandma."" Grandma makes good use of the kangaroo in the kitchen, its pocket serving as perfect storage for utensils. ""I had a coyote,"" says the boy, ""But I gave it to my uncle."" His guitarist uncle strums appreciatively, to the howls of his new singing sidekick. The deadpan narration follows the same pattern throughout the book, with the box of crackers seen only in the first, wordless spread. Debut author/artist Lee paints with a wildly vivid palette, using an unusual technique; India ink is layered with watercolor and gouache, creating a dramatic look similar to woodcut. A winning spin on the notion that 'tis better to give than to receive... an anaconda. Ages 3-up. (Mar.)
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