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4.9 out of 5 stars233
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The most entertaining "counting book," I've seen, Sandra Boynton pulls out all the stops (and all the hippos) in this hilariously inventive tale of a hippo happening. It all beings with one lonely hippo, who "calls two hippos on the phone. Three hippos at the door [then, next page] bring along another 4. Before long, "seven hippos arrive in a sack. Eight hippos sneak in the back. Nine hippos come to work. ALL THE HIPPOS GO BERSERK!" Berserk here, means 45 hippos (9 + * + & ... + 1) all in the initial hippo's house, tooting horns, tearing down a hippo portrait (drawn like Whistler's mother, if Whistler were a hippo), eating cake, and being served by those nine working hippos. When morning comes, the hippos leave, in as many different ways as they arrived: By "Greyhip" bus, wagon train (!), helicopter, and wheelbarrow.

We've come to expect Boynton's wonderfully whimsical, rounded style, but she adds several humorous details (e.g. a hippo dancing on the roof), and very cleverly associates the numbers with the hippos. Most counting books are very static, a number, say 5, and five of some item on that page. I suppose a more "advanced" presentation is that the numbers are related in some thematic way. However, Boynton doesn't limit herself to the one page per number formula; she writes a continuous story, in which new guests-the ones associated with that page's number--mingle with previous arrivals. She accomplishes this by distinguishing the new, number-relevant guests through their costumes or by color differences. This format may require more cognitively than simpler books, but Boynton's "Hippos GO Berserk" is so entertaining that it stands alone as pure entertainment; its value "counts" much more than the traditional style.
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on August 15, 2003
A wondrous counting book that tells of a lonely hippo who calls two others on the phone. Then larger and larger groups keep arriving (three though nine) until all 45 hippos and the beast (a guest of one of the groups) go berserk and party all through the hippo night. But at the hippo break of day, they all begin to go away (nine through two) until all that is left is the original one.
Most counting books only count in one direction. This fun book counts up and then back down again (although it doesn't use zero). It even makes mention of how many they add up to.
Typical Boynton illustrations add to the fun of this book.
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on January 27, 2001
This is an absolutely hysterical book of rhyming verse. It's fun to read aloud, and a big hit with the kids. Boynton's drawings are great - as always. One special feature: this book counts backwards as well as forwards. An interesting twist on the usual counting book.
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on November 28, 2000
This is a delightful book! I bought it for my 6 month old son, who has a limited attention span for stories but LOVES this one. I also gave it to my 2 year old niece who, according to my sister-in-law, asks to have "Hippos Go Zerk!" read at least 16 times per day.
Boynton also adds some humorous touches that Mom and Dad can appreciate. Look for the Hippo Whistler's Mother!
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on February 21, 2000
This is an excellent book for early readers and pre-school teachers alike (I'm of the latter category) A great transition book, steady build up, allow your kids a few seconds to go beserk, then a countdown to quietness. SO simple and delightful, a must for every teachers table !
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on June 30, 2008
This is one of my family's favorite childrens books ever. It not only completely speaks to our crazy and chaotic, yet incredibly loving extended family, but the last line -- "One hippo alone once more, misses the the other forty-four" -- sums up that poignancy of having to say good-bye. All that, plus it helps teach kids to count. (Both my five- and eight-year-olds still want to make sure that there are 44 actual hippos at the height of it all.) I never tire of reading it and have given it as a gift at nearly every baby shower I've ever been to. If you haven't read Sandra Boynton's childrens books, do so now.
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on May 25, 2005
My daughter, who is now 15 months, LOVES this book. We got it before she was born, but didn't start reading it to her until she was about 12 months and she instantly loved it. We have to take it with us when we go out of town because she loves it so much. Of course we've memorized it, so when we're driving and she gets fussy we can recite it to her and she is happy again. Great, great book.
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on July 4, 2001
This book has all the elements of fun--one author, who obviously loves to write children's books, one subject (HIPPOS) and counting and you have the ingredients for a fun book. My 6 year old loves Hippos Go Berserk! and is learning to read it. She loves the counting as well. This book is in our Boynton collection (we must have the "Boynton Memorial Library" by now!) and it gets read weekly. We have to rotate through all the other Boynton books we have. It's a very good book and I recommend it, for children of ALL ages.
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on March 31, 2013
I love the title of this book and I was originally going to buy it based solely on the fact that it makes me laugh every time I say it. But, I was pleasantly surprised when I read it at our library first and found it's a cool counting book. For my younger daughter it's good for her to hear the numbers but for my older daughter, it's fun for us to actually count and add all of those hippos. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because the rhythm and meter of the first half of the book is way better than the last half. When the hippos are leaving it feels more clumsy and like I'm tripping over the words a bit because they don't follow the usual rhyme scheme.
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on September 29, 2015
This is one of my FAVORITE children's books!

I was a nanny for a couple of years, and of all the books this toddler had, this was definitely in my top 10. I loved it so much that I had to find it to give to all my friend's for their little one's first birthday! It is just a fun rhyming Hippo book.

I do love hippos though, I think they are friendly looking (even though in real life they aren't quite as friendly). This book counts up to 10, then back down, in quite a fun way.

If you like hippos, you need this book.

Sandra Boynton has awesome books, and this is just one of them!

Do yourself a favor, buy it.
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