cover image Am I Beautiful?

Am I Beautiful?

Else Holmelund Minarik. Greenwillow Books, $16 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09911-4

The author of Little Bear here introduces another endearing character: a young hippo who decides to ``have a nice little walkabout'' while his mother wallows in the mud one hot day. He encounters a mother lion nuzzling her cubs; a father heron teaching his fledglings to dance; and a human mother playing with her baby. Since the parents tell their wee ones how beautiful they are, the hippo does his best to imitate each group of offspring in turn, asking if he, too, is beautiful. Of course no one can answer the question--until his own mother assures him that he is ``the most beautiful of all, since you are mine!'' Abolafia's ( Fox Tale ; A Fish for Mrs. Gardenia ) sprightly watercolors deftly portray the affectionate relationships between these creatures and their young, reinforcing Minarik's effective variation on a theme no child can hear often enough: unconditional parental love. Ages 3-up. (Aug.)