When Hilda Hippo dances, the other jungle animals cringe. For "while she danced in utter bliss,/ it sounded quite a lot like this:/ "Ka-bump! Ka-bump!/ Crash! Crash! Smash!
" The earth shakes, she tramples plants and kicks up clouds of dust. The animals suggest Hilda try knitting or singing instead, but it's not until the water buffalo recommends swimming that Hilda proclaims, "Now, here's a hobby/ I adore.../ Water ballet dancing!" Although Hilda wears plenty of extravagant dance costumes, Wilson's (Bear Snores On
) descriptions sometimes strain: "While Hilda danced flamenco/ in her favorite pair of heels,/ bananas fell in gooey heaps,/ shaken from their peels!" Watts's illustrations create a fantasy jungle full of bright flowers and cartoon animals, but Hilda's pink Homer Simpson–style muzzle maintains an almost uniform expression. The ending scene of Hilda performing water ballet ("Swisha-swisha clap! Clap!
") provides a satisfying solution for all—readers and fellow jungle inhabitants alike. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)