Posted in Animal Fiction, Fiction, Graphic Novels, Intermediate

Everyone has their purpose. What’s Hippopotamister’s?

hippo_1Hippopotamister, by John Patrick Green (May 2016, First Second), $17.99, ISBN: 9781626722002

Recommended for ages 6-10

Things haven’t been exactly bustling at the zoo. The habitats and the animals need maintenance, the zoo is a little dingy, and no one is really breaking down the rusty gates to get in and see the zoo. Red Panda takes off to see the world, and tells great stories of life on the outside. One day, Hippopotamister decides he’s going to join Red Panda; the two friends set out to find their fortunes. The only problem? They can’t seem to hold a job for long! When the two friends return to the zoo to visit the other animals, Hippopotamister discovers the perfect job for him.

This is a great story about finding your own groove. Hippopotamister is a nice guy who is actually really good at almost everything he sets out to do; Red Panda is a free spirit who wants to does his own thing, his way, but most of the time, his own thing is kind of a mess. Still, Hippo sticks by his buddy, wandering off with him to the next adventure. Once they return to the zoo to visit, though, Hippo sees that all of his adventures have really been training him to take on the job that’s perfect for him: running the zoo.

Hippopotamister is a good friend, always ready with an encouraging word, and a positive outlook: when one job falls through, he’s ready to go find another. He’s flexible, willing to try different jobs and industries, and he’s a smart cookie: he recognizes things he can fix, once he returns to the zoo, and embraces his calling. There are good morals for kids here, the main one being, everyone has their purpose. Sometimes, you need to wait until you discover yours.

This is a great independent read for readers who are ready to take on a little more of a challenge, but it’s a great storytime snuggler, too. My 3 year-old loved it, and was easily able to work out the humor in the story by using the cues in the pictures (patient wrapped in dental floss at the dentist, the bone house vs. the dinosaur skeleton in the museum). I love comics for young learners because it’s a great way to work out sequences and cause and effect, and Hippopotamister is a great book to use for this kind of discussion.

Take a look at some of Hippopotamister below, and make sure to get yourself a copy! Great for young reader graphic novel collections.

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