I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas by John Rox and Simon Williams

cover image

CD sung Miranda Tapsell. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN. ISBN 9781760279356
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. The song was originally released in 1953 by 10 year-old Gayla Peevey. This was an instant hit and has remained so ever since with a number of artists illustrating different versions.
I want a hippopotamus for Christmas
Only a hippopotamus will do . . .

In this version by Simon Williams, it is a cute little kitten who wants the hippopotamus for Christmas and the contrast between the tiny cat and the huge hippopotamus makes for much of the humour in the book. Children will delight in working out ways that Santa could get the hippopotamus inside the house, let alone to be gift-wrapped and put under the Christmas tree and will giggle out loud at the thought of massaging it in its quarters in the garage. The illustrations are delightful, with the little cat wearing Santa hat and red collar with a bell, and always having the most gleeful expressions. The drawings of the Hippo Hero with a cape scattered with Christmas trees are also wonderfully humorous and the capers that the hippo gets up will ensure that children are kept engrossed in the tale.
The book could easily be read aloud as a stand-alone, as the rhyme and rhythm are outstanding and are what have made it so popular throughout the years. However children will enjoy listening to the bonus CD sung by Miranda Tapsell and will happily learn the tune and words and will be able to sing along with the book.
This is another Christmas selection that would make an entertaining and amusing addition to a home, classroom or library.
Pat Pledger