Hippopotamister by John Patrick Green

Published by First Second

Summary:  Hippo and Red Panda spend their days in a run-down zoo, until Red Panda decides he’s had enough, and leaves to find a job. Whenever he comes back for a visit, he tells Hippo that he has the best job ever, although his changing hats suggest that it’s always a different job. Finally, Hippo decides to join him. Red Panda tells Hippo that he’s now Hippopotamister, and he has to act like a human. The two friends try cooking, hair dressing, banking, and a host of other positions. In each one, Hippopotamister is a bit unsure of himself, but does his work well; Red Panda, on the other hand, is completely confident, but makes a mess of things and gets them both fired. Finally, discouraged, Hippo returns to the zoo, where he finds everything just as bad as he left it. In one night, he uses his new job skills to fix it all. The animals elect him zookeeper, and Red Panda, with his ebullient personality, is hired on as head of customer relations. 96 pages; grades K-3.

Pros: This graphic novel has cute illustrations and lots of gentle humor, with a satisfying ending. Kids will enjoy learning how to draw Hippopotamister and Red Panda on the last page.

Cons: The lengthy job search got a bit repetitious.

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