cover image The Blushful Hippopotamus

The Blushful Hippopotamus

Chris Raschka. Scholastic, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-531-09532-4

The perfect antidote for anyone who's ever suffered the slings and arrows of an outrageous older sister, this may well be Raschka's (Yo! Yes?) best picture book yet. With what seem like a few effortless strokes of ink and watercolor and a quick scribble with an oil stick, the author/artist delivers Roosevelt, a winsome young hippopotamus who is tormented by his elder sibling at every opportunity. Fortunately for the hapless hippo, he has a most loyal friend in Lombard the duck, who counteracts the teasing with generous and creative accolades (""A skillful hippopotamus is what it is you are""). Roosevelt's sister, who looms so large in the beginning of the book that only her enormous nose and a portion of her torso fit on the page, recedes in proportion to Lombard's praise, until she's only a teeny caricature; Roosevelt, meanwhile, swells visibly with each boost to his ego, until it's he who fills the final page, sweeping Lombard up in a grateful embrace. Ah, the sweet balm of friendship--its magic works as admirably on these pages as it does in real life. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)