cover image Here Comes Doctor Hippo

Here Comes Doctor Hippo

Jonathan London, illus. by Gilles Eduar. Boyds Mills, $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-59078-851-6

Froggy creator London introduces a new character, a serious hippo who “didn’t like being little” and yearns for grownup roles. But Little Hippo quickly discovers that playing doctor is not all that glamorous. Big Hippo has halitosis, a louche hyena kicks when his feet are examined, and Lion makes it loud and clear that that the last thing he wants is an eye exam (Lion’s roar, which takes up an entire page, is one of many sound cues). But Mama Hippo makes it all better with her own pretend doctoring, and clearly she’s board-certified in affirmation: “Your tongue is as pink as a rose petal,” she tells her chastened son. “And your skin is as soft as a peach.” Brazilian illustrator Eduar (Gigi and Zachary Go to Work) has an expressive, clear-line style and a quirky palette (palm trees come in a variety of shades); it’s a whimsical counterpoint to London’s matter-of-fact prose. There are more memorable books on this theme, but if the reading prescription calls for sweet and simple, especially at bedtime, this may prove just as effective. Ages 2–6. (Sept.)