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list price: $19.99
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
published: Oct 2007
ISBN:9780439952606

The Blue Hippopotamus

by Phoebe Gilman, illustrated by Joanne Fitzgerald

reviews: 2
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5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $19.99
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
published: Oct 2007
ISBN:9780439952606
Description

A beautiful story about the transformative power of friendship and the love between a mother and child.

A young hippo falls madly in love with an Egyptian princess. Desperate to be with her, the hippo asks a magician to change him into "something she could love." The magician reveals that he's unable turn a hippo into a human, but can turn him into a toy, and he grants the hippo the power to turn himself back into his real self whenever he chooses. The excited hippo accepts this offer, and becomes the princess's new toy - but will this be enough?

Based on a story by Joan Grant, this is Phoebe Gilman's long-awaited final book. The illustrations by Joanne Fitzgerald are inspired by the sketches Phoebe drew before her death in 2002.

About the Authors

Phoebe Gilman

Author profile page >

Joanne Fitzgerald was a very talented illustrator who had a rewarding and prolific career in children's books. She illustrated many well-loved titles, such as The Little Rooster and the Diamond Button (winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award) and Ten Small Tales by Celia Barker Lottridge, and Emily's House by Niko Scharer. She also wrote and illustrated several books, including This is Me and Where I Am.
Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

PHOEBE GILMAN is one of Canada's best-selling author/illustrators. Her books include the Jillian Jiggs series, Grandama and the Pirates, The Balloon Tree, The Gypsy Princess and the award-winning Something From Nothing. She died in 2002.

JOANNE FITZGERALD is the illustrator of many Canadian favourites, including Plain Noodles, Emily's house, Ten Small Tales (winner of the IODE Award), Little Rooster and the Diamond Button (Winner of the Mr Christie's book Award), Circus Play, and the Governor General's Award winning Doctor Kiss Says Yes. Her most recent book is This Is Me and Where I Am (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, Fall 2004).

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
5 to 8
Grade:
k to 3
Awards
  • Commended, Best Books for Kids and Teens, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Commended, Resource Links, Best of the Year
  • Short-listed, Governor General's Award for Children's Literature - Illustration

Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Blue Hippopotamus

Based on “The Blue Faience Hippopotamus” by Joan Grant

In the time of Pharoahs lives a young hippopotamus named Hapu. One day, while wallowing in the Nile River, he falls in love with Mery-Am, the Pharoah’s little daughter. To his dismay, she is frightened and runs from him. So begins Hapu’s quest to win her love. He asks a magician to change him into a prince. However, the best that the magician can do is to transform him into a blue hippopotamus toy. The magician also wisely grants Hapu one wish: he can revert back to his original self by reciting “I wish to be a real hippo again.”

The princess admires the little blue hippo, and Hapu becomes her constant companion. Alas, Mery-Am loses interest in her plaything as she grows older. Hapu sadly realizes that she will never truly love him and selflessly uses his one wish to secure her happiness instead of his own. Eventually, in a surprising turn of events, Hapu does find true love and happiness with his cherished Mery-Am.

This moving story of love and friendship was the final story written by the late Phoebe Gilman. She created a memorable character that readers will feel deeply for as they witness Hapu’s poignant dilemma. It is beautifully written... a simple but sensitive metaphor easily understood.

Illustrator Joanne Fitzgerald has clearly done extensive research about ancient Egypt. There is much to savour in her detailed watercolour, gouache and coloured pencil artwork. These depict the customs, architecture and natural world of this civilization with accuracy. The personalities of Hapu, Mery-Am and the magician are congruent with the artist’s depiction of them.

The Blue Hippopotamus will speak to young and old about the reverberating impact of small acts of kindness and selflessness which have the power to change lives.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2008. Vol.31 No.2.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Blue Hippopotamus

A young hippopotamus falls in love with an Egyptian princess and begs a magician to change him into “something she could love.” It is through his own selfless act that he is transformed into the princess’s true love.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2008.

Other Titles by Phoebe Gilman

Other Titles by Joanne Fitzgerald

Circus Play

Circus Play

edition:Hardcover
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