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Hidden Hippo Review by Charlotte Gochnauer

By Joan Gannij and Clare Beaton
Barefoot Books
2067 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
866-215-1756 (Monday-Friday 9 am - 6 pm EST)
866-417-2369 (24-hour order online)

This fun book for younger children is a colorful yet simple tour of Africa's animals. Throughout the book, various animals are mentioned as the reader goes on safari, along with beautiful quilt-like illustrations. But where is the hippo? He is there on every page; your children just need to look very hard. He does make a grand appearance though, right at the end. My 3-year-old had a fun time reading this with me and especially enjoyed looking for the hippo.

At the end of the book, there is a description of each of the other animals mentioned in the book. It tells what they eat, where they live, and other details in simple language for younger children. There are a few references to evolution in the chimpanzee and crocodile descriptions. There is also a page on endangered species that describes conservation efforts in Africa and gives the websites of three organizations. Finally, there is a page about the hippo, which includes extended facts about how big they are, where they live, and what they eat.

This is a fun book that can be used to teach children ages 2-5 about the hippo and other African animals. For homeschooling purposes, it could be very useful when doing a unit study on Africa or on animals. This hardback book has 32 pages and costs $15.99. The cost does seem a little high, but it would be a nice addition to your animal library.

Product review by Charlotte Gochnauer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC December 2008