cover image At Hippo Hop CL

At Hippo Hop CL

Christine Loomis. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-395-69702-3

As this festive rhyming picture book begins, a polite hippopotamus in tropical attire ushers readers into a jungle hot spot, a pink shack called the Hippo Hop. Behind its curtained doorway, smiling capybara waiters and a simian hostess hover expectantly. Before long, the Hop fills with ``yaks on sax,'' elephants playing trombones, snakes shaking maracas, even a dancing wildebeest who clutches a rose in her teeth. Almost every animal wears round beatnik glasses, and every one of them is in motion. At evening's end, the music grows mellow, and the staff cleans up in preparation for the next night, when the fun begins all over again. Loomis (One Cow Coughs) names numerous types in her toe-tapping narrative, inviting readers to scan each crowded spread for the spotlighted animals (``Zebras get jamming/ On the ivory keys,/Monkeys bang congas/In the coconut trees''). Westcott (Round and Round Again) tones down her sometimes bubblegummy palette, using bright watercolors and twirly lines to intensify the visual rhythms. The jitterbug-jump art and text make a great pair-Loomis and Westcott really know how to throw a party. Ages 4-7. (Aug.)