cover image A Hippopotamusn't

A Hippopotamusn't

J. Patrick Lewis, Patrick Lewis. Dial Books, $12.95 (39pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-0518-0

While some of Lewis's animal verses are perhaps more successful than others, all are brimming with puns and good fun. The donkey, for example, ``is an ani-mule / Who won't put up with ridi-cule'' and although Tom Tigercat ``is noted / for his manners and his wit. / He wouldn't think of lion, / no, he doesn't cheetah bit.'' Unlike Jeanne Steig's Consider the Lemming , the emphasis here is not on characterization but on the joyful exhuberance with which Lewis ( The Tsar and the Amazing Cow ) embraces and stretches language--reminiscent of Ogden Nash. Chess ( Tommy at the Grocery Store ) contributes her distinctive, wittily drawn animals that cavort and grin from every page. The hippopotamus flosses between his huge teeth; a farmer, his wife and their dog share a vision of a roasted chicken as a blue-tailed cock ambles by. From the owl's ``mouse-mad night'' to the kimono-clad ``very first Rhino (from Tokyo)'' who reposes under cherry blossoms telling ``joke after jokeo,'' this successful collaboration is very merry. Ages 4-8. (May)