cover image Herbert on the Slide (Hippo Park Pals #1)

Herbert on the Slide (Hippo Park Pals #1)

Rilla Alexander. Hippo Park, $9.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-66264-011-7

The first of four picture books each focusing on a particular piece of playground equipment, this volume with a small trim size follows purple hippo Herbert as he relishes every moment of play on a slide. In minimally detailed, crayon-textured digital art, Alexander conveys the climb “all the way up,” practice slide runs with both a turquoise bear stuffy and a yellow truck, and then, after a count of three, an exhilarating, giddy descent. Successive runs inspire pretend play, first as an underwater diver, then as a yellow truck being chased by a giant stuffed bear. When Herbert’s sister demands a turn, her brother is a model of playground etiquette (“Line up and you can start all over again!”). With a simple, reiterative arc, the story celebrates a setting, and an object, that plays an important developmental role in many childhoods, affirming imagination, competency, and courage. Ages 2–5. (Oct.)