Hippo and Bird are a classic odd couple. Hippo just wants to swim and roll in the grass on his own, but Bird wants to play and talk. Hippo wants quiet, but Bird wants to make Hippo laugh with silly antics. Even when Bird tries to be helpful, Hippo is annoyed. In the end, the two animals form an unlikely friendship.
The text of the book is made up only of Hippo and Bird’s dialogue and a few sound effects, no narration. There are some books that can pull this off, but in this case neither animal is very eloquent, so the dialogue is a little flimsy and it makes the book feel like it just doesn’t have enough words. The hippo and bird could have had more discussions, or gone on more adventures. As it stands now, their story falls a little flat.
However, the book is plenty of fun visually. The illustrations have beautiful colors, evocative textures, and the artist uses interesting techniques that give Hippo and Bird’s African savannah a distinct look. So, although the story leaves something to be desired, the real value of this book is in the stunning images that accompany it. Although it may not be infinitely re-readable, the illustrations are worth a look.
Whitney Morton Woodcock is an artist, graphic designer, and a
maybe-someday children’s book illustrator. She has a BFA in
Illustration from the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota,
Florida, and currently resides in Tucson, Arizona with her husband
Brian and a few human and dog children. When she’s not reading (which takes up a lot of time!), she also enjoys cooking, yoga, painting
anything that stands still long enough, and planning vacations she
usually doesn’t end up taking. Her artwork can be found at WhitneyMorton.com and her pet portraiture business is at MaxfieldAndMadison.com.
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