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This is our family's 3rd copy of this classic board book from Sandra Boynton...we literally read the others to death through our 5 (soon to be 6) children, so it was time to get a fresh copy. This adorable story is about a hippopotamus who watches life go by...everyone busy with social lives and activities that pointedly do not include her. Far be if from me to give a plot spoiler on this delightful 14 page board book, but it definitely leaves you with a tear jerking (ok..maybe it is only our 18 month old who fake cries and gives the character a sympathetic kiss?) ending that begs for a sequel.

The illustrations are absolutely charming and the range of emotions this seemingly silly little rhyming store evokes is surprising! We always include this in our new baby gift baskets as it is a long time family favorite that the older kids never tire of reading to their siblings.

**Odd note...somewhere along the line, the author changed a few words in this book and, for those of us who had completely memorized the original text, it was mildly annoying... lol She did the same thing with another one of our favorites The Going-To-Bed Book. For a million years I knew it forward and backward... then we ordered updated copies and I was tripping over my tongue to learn the new phrases. (Yes, ask my children...I am at least a million years old.)
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In case you're not familiar with her, Sandra Boynton is a popular American humorist, songwriter, director, music producer, children's author, and illustrator. Since 1974, she has written and illustrated more than fifty books for both children and adults. "But Not the Hippopotamus" was published in 1982. In the story, all the animals are having fun except for the hippopotamus who's too shy to join in. Finally, though, the other animals persuade the hippo to come join in the fun.

The whimsical rhyming lines and the colorful illustrations will hold a youngster's attention for the few minutes it takes to read the story. It's a fun read for kids, and a nice introduction to some simple vocabulary words for beginning readers. (Other than "hippopotamus," I only noticed one word that had more than two syllables.)

Note: There is also an interactive animated app of "But Not the Hippopotamus" (But Not the Hippopotamus - Boynton). It's a great companion to the board book. In the app, the reader has the choice of reading the text themselves or listening to a narrator (Meghan Adrian). Either way, touching a word causes the word to be pronounced by the narrator. Touching objects causes them to move or do some other action (example: on the bear and the hare page, every time you touch the bear's ice cream cone, another scoop of ice cream is added).
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on June 8, 2014
We love board books... they are a wonderful introduction to reading for infants and toddlers.
My 4 star rating has more to do with a change in the wording on the first page than anything else - the original reads "A hog and a dog do a dance in a bog..." this new one reads "cavort in a bog" - I can appreciate expanding one's vocabulary, but how many little ones understand "cavort"? Wondering why the change in wording, and very much prefer the original. Otherwise, it is the same well written book that we've had to replace with each of our young children because it is so well loved... board books are intended for the less-than-gentle book handling of little hands so they aren't expected to last forever, but these do a good job of holding up to one or two littles before needing to be replaced.
Sticky fingers touched the page? No problem, a lightly damp cloth will wipe off the page without ruining the book, unlike regular paper pages. Simple and easy. Now who with little ones doesn't like simple and easy??
This has long been a favorite toddler story in our household, though it's a tough call to decide which of Sandra Boynton's books are the best, because quite frankly, they are all good!
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on December 22, 2015
This is a truly adorable book, which I believe shows the message of some personalities being shy and needing others to go out of their way to include them. Our 18 month old daughter picks this out from her many books on a daily basis. When it comes to the page of the hippopotamus not knowing if she should stay or go, our daughter always says "awe" as if she is being emphathetic to the hippos shyness. We have read this to her 3 and 5 year old cousins and they enjoyed it as well. The three year old asked why the hippo didn't like to play with the other animals. He seemed to really think about it when I explained that she wanted to but she was too shy to join in. As with all of her books, Sandra Boynton gives great rhyming and fun characters. We have quite a collection of her books but I would say this is in my top five of enjoyable ones to read over and over.
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on April 15, 2015
Sandra Boynton's "But Not the Hippopotamus," "Moo, Baa, La La La," and "The Going to Bed Book" are three books that should be in every household with small children. These are definitely classics, for those who love snuggling and reading with their small kids. Silly and funny. These books have been "classics" and steady sellers for 30 years. A lot of little kids have laughed at the silliness in these books. Boynton did something really good when writing and drawing these charming and colorful board books. (My grown kids and I can still recite these stories by heart.)
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VINE VOICEon April 17, 2016
This is another great Boynton book with clever rhymes and illustrations that also makes a clear point our toddlers instantly grasped.

Several animals are out having fun, a hog and a frog play in the bog, a cat and some rats try on hats etc... but not the Hippopotamus. The hippo lurks in each scene lonely and excluded until finally the others invite her (him? does it matter?) to join.

But then we see a new animal excluded, and the girls instantly get it. They should welcome everyone.

It's a great message for kids of all ages and told very, very well.
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on October 12, 2016
Sandra Boynton! I love her! The kids love her... The Hippopotamus wants to do all of the things she sees some other kid animals doing but she's too afraid to ask to play... Then they ask her and she is so happy and goes to play.... But not the Armadillo:) spoiler sorry... It is a really good book! Kids love it! It shows to be kind and invite other kids along if they are alone and look like they want to play... Good values in these books!
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on April 30, 2014
Boynton is a favorite author at our house. We have a toddle who loves her books. Through talking/reading it with her this book has helped her learn how to join in with others who are playing instead of just watching. It has also helped her learn to ask others to join her in play.
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on April 12, 2017
Everybody is having fun...but not the Hippopotamus! Lol Cute story and rhymes well.
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on April 14, 2017
Son loves the books. The pages are thick enough that he's learning to turn the pages too.
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