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How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships Hardcover – May 3, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 9 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 4
  • Lexile Measure: 950L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780547245157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547245157
  • ASIN: 0547245157
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 8.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #578,542 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
What does a water buffalo see in an egret? Why would a badger want a coyote for company? What makes a horse mackerel think he can hang around with a Portugese man-of-war---and live to tell about it? In this fascinating picture book, Steve Jenkins and Robin Page explore these and many other instances of mutualism: the mutually beneficial symbiotic relationships that can be found everywhere in the animal kingdom.

But in addition to the husband and wife team's trademark style of cut paper illustrations and fascinating text, they will also cover new artistic ground. Drawing upon the style of the graphic novel, they will use a series of illustrative frames from different points of view to illuminate just why that water buffalo and egret need each other, exactly how that badger and coyote work together, and the unbelievable manner in which the horse mackeral and man-of-war lend each other a helping hand. Quid pro quo has never look quite like this!



Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Steve Jenkins and Robin Page, Authors of How to Clean a Hippopotamus

Dear Amazon Reader,

Robin and I keep a file of animal facts and images that have caught our attention for one reason or another. At some point we realized that we'd accumulated a lot of information about animal symbiosis, and we thought it would be fun to do a book on the subject. We decided to focus on mutualism, a symbiotic relationship in which all the participants benefit. Quite a few children's books have been written about symbiosis. Once we started really researching the subject, however, we found a lot of fascinating relationships that we'd never come across in a children's book.

Most of our books about animals have the same basic structure: a portrait and a paragraph or two of explanatory text. In these books a single image represents one moment in time in the life of an animal. But many symbiotic relationships are characterized by a kind of tit-for-tat, back and forth interaction. This suggested a different approach to the subject--one that could show a series of moments in time. We thought that a graphic-novel format would be an interesting way to deal with sequences of images. We also hoped that this approach might appeal to some of those slightly older readers who've left picture books behind and moved on to chapter books.

As authors and illustrators, our favorite symbiotic relationship might be the cooperative hunting behavior of the coyote and badger (unfortunately, it often turns out badly for the prairie dogs they hunt). As participants, the human/dog relationship is definitely our favorite.

- Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

(Photo © Tim Tucker)




From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3—This book introduces readers to symbiosis, focusing on relationships in which each partner benefits from the collaboration. While readers may be familiar with birds that groom mammals or small fish that clean bigger ones, more unusual pairings include the boxer crab, which can pluck poisonous anemone, use them as lethal pom-poms with which to chase away larger prey, and then return the favor with stray scraps of food dropped from its imprecise claws. The book concludes with a relationship that will be familiar to many readers—that of humans and dogs. It is a nice way to expand the topic into the domestic sphere, as well as highlighting an area in which the relationship between humans and animals is mutually beneficial, and not simply tilted in our favor. Jenkins's trademark collage illustrations continue to impress with their vibrant and stunning manipulation of cut and torn paper. The book is formatted in a block, comic-book style and is written at a level that is accessible to young browsers yet suitable for older researchers. Supplementary information about the size, habitat, and diet of each animal is included in the back matter. This title is another outstanding offering from this extraordinarily talented, wonderfully symbiotic couple.—Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

More About the Author

Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated thirty picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books have been called stunning, eyepopping, inventive, gorgeous, masterful, extraordinary, playful, irresistible, compelling, engaging, accessible, glorious, and informative. He lives in Colorado with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page, and their children. To learn more about Steve and his books, visit www.stevejenkinsbooks.com.

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Customer Reviews

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These amazing relationships, "relationships in which each animal helps the other," are call symbiosis.
D. Fowler
It was in regular rotation for awhile (those with young kids will know that a favorite book is often asked for every night, sometimes more often).
theresa
The illustrations in this book are arranged more like a graphic book, an interesting and reader-friendly way to present the science information.
M. Heiss

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
How to Clean a Hippopotamus offers a focus on animal symbiosis and provides readers with a captivating introduction and step-by-step view of animal partnerships. Color drawings appear in cartoon-like panels to describe these partnerships in this outstanding survey geared to grades 2-4.
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Format: Hardcover
Would you let an oxpecker climb into your ear? Would you let an African helmeted turtle nibble at your jowls or sit on your back? There are many relationships between animals that are mutually beneficial. The giraffe gladly allows the oxpecker access to its ears because the little bird will rid it of unwelcome parasites such as the tick. Other animals such as the rhino, the deer, the African buffalo, and the zebra welcome the services of this little song bird, a bird who depends on them to find its food. The hippopotamus' skin can easily become "covered with algae and water plants." The African helmeted turtle happily nibbles "away unwanted greenery" from the hippo's skin and then basks his cold-blooded body on the hippo's back.

Seemingly unusual partnerships like these are formed in the animal world. One animal will forge a bond with another because each benefits in one way or another. These amazing relationships, "relationships in which each animal helps the other," are call symbiosis. This book swirls with animal life telling us how and why these unlikely partnerships are formed. You will find out why the honeyguide (a bird) needs to find a ratel or honey badger in order to be able to dine on bits of honeycomb and "juicy bee larvae." Do you know why the remora "attaches itself to a tiger shark?" Do you know how come the blue butterfly caterpillar gets red ants to "clean and protect it?" You'll read about these relationships and many more in this marvelous book!

The amazing world of "unusual animal partnerships" will fascinate even the most reluctant reader. This book is set up in a graphic novel format and simply pulls the reader along as he or she painlessly learns about symbiosis.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Rahe on June 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book about how animals of different species work together to help each other.
I bought several to share with the elementary schools, grandchildren and as gifts for other young readers.
I think it will help support the respect for diversity, work together cooperatively and similar programs at school and at home.
The pictures are great and support the text.
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By Amanda on February 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
We really enjoy Steve Jenkins artwork. My son also loves to learn about animals. This book does not disappoint and teaches some interesting facts about animal partnerships.
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By Amazon Customer on January 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Interesting book about symbiotic relationships among animals. It shows many examples through beautiful artwork and excellent thought-provoking explanations. I bought several of these and will buy more as gifts.
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