Hippos Are Huge! By Jonathan London, illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Published by Candlewick

Summary:  What is the most dangerous animal in Africa?  A lion? A crocodile?  No, it’s that adorable hippopotamus innocently wallowing in the mud.  Did you know a hippo can bite a crocodile in half, and run 25 miles per hour?  This book is packed with fascinating information about how hippos eat, fight, move, and reproduce.

Pros:  Kids of all ages will enjoy this excellent nonfiction book.  The brief, engaging text and large colorful illustrations make it appropriate to read aloud to preschoolers.  (They’d especially enjoy the double-page picture of males swatting balls of dung at each other with their tails.)  At the same time, there’s enough information here to write a pretty complete report.  There’s even a brief index with a note on how to use it. 

Cons:  The book starts off as a general introduction, then on page 12 introduces a specific hippo whom we follow through the rest of the book.  I didn’t quite catch on to this until the end of the book, which made for a little confusion.  I think the problem was the hippo’s name…Hippo.