Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.
The leading character of this week's picture book for children is a great big fellow. He's lovable. And Hippo has a problem.
"Hippo Goes Bananas" was written by Marjorie Dennis Murray and illustrated by Kevin O'Malley.
The story begins one morning when a hippopotamus named "Hippo" wakes up with a toothache. (And boy does he have big teeth!)
"Oooooooo, "Hippo moans. "Oooooooo!"
While holding his jaw, Hippo spins around in circles. He's so big that he knocks over two trees in the process.
Hippo makes lots of moaning noises so pretty soon he attracts the attention of Cuckoo Bird who flies down and sits on a tree branch. (Lucky for Cuckoo, Hippo hasn't knocked down this tree.)
Right away, Cuckoo Bird can tell that something's wrong with Hippo. Why, the big animal is going bananas. So Cuckoo flies off to tell Monkey.
Monkey is hanging from a tree. Cuckoo tells him all about Hippo, but he exaggerates the situation a little bit. He says Hippo has gone bananas, is knocking over every tree in the jungle and is kicking them off the cliff.
Monkey comes down from the tree, pronto, and he and Cuckoo go off to tell Leopard all about Hippo.
Now, Monkey has to add his own detail to the story. He tells Leopard that Hippo is knocking down every tree in the jungle, kicking them off the cliff and rolling them into the river.
Leopard looks a little shocked, indeed. Now Leopard, Monkey and Cuckoo go off to give Giraffe the news.
"Jumping Jackrabbits!" That's Giraffe's response to Leopard's report.
Leopard says that Hippo is knocking down every tree in the jungle, kicking them off the cliff, rolling them into the river, and damming up the water.
What to do? Giraffe, Leopard, Monkey and Cuckoo go off to find Zebra. (The accompanying illustration is very comical because monkey is perched on Giraffe's head with his tail hanging down between Giraffe's eyes.)
Giraffe tells Zebra all about Hippo, but he adds one more little detail. Hippo is flooding the Serengeti!
The last animal to get the news is Elephant, who says they have to stop Hippo. The race is on, and so is the fun.
This Marshall Cavendish Book (2006) is delightful. The illustrations are colorful and comical. What a fun addition it would been to teaching a unit on teeth (and communication, too).
Marjorie Dennis Murray is a preschool teacher who has written several picture books, including "Little Wolf and the Moon". Kevin O'Malley illustrated other picture books, such as "Cinder Edna," and has written and illustrated his own books.
"Hippo Goes Bananas" costs $14.95 in hardcover and also can be found at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
Copyright Diane Prather, 2009.