Thursday, July 8, 2010

How To Clean A Hippopotamus by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page - Book Review & Giraffe / Oxpecker Craft

When we visit the library, we often head straight over to the new book shelf. This week we found a treasure - a fascinating and highly detailed non-fiction children's book that should be on all to-be-read lists titled How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships. It is by the talented pair, Steve Jenkins & Robin Page. You're probably already familiar with at least a couple of their other outstanding books including among others, What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? and Move! They just keep getting it right, book after book.

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (May 2010); ISBN 9780547245157; 32 pages; Book Source: Copy from local library
How to Clean a Hippopotamus provides factual and fun information about numerous different symbiotic relationships in the animal world. All sorts of odd partnerships are covered in this book. For instance, oxpeckers help out giraffes and other large animals by picking ticks off their skin and they issue a warning call when predators approach. Page after page, different pairings are described: the sea anemone and clownfish, badger and coyote, green sea turtle and a school of tang...even dog and human. The colorful and stylish panel layout looks a lot like a graphic novel or comic book and makes this book easy to browse and page through all at once or in little bits. The back pages include snippets of information about each animal featured in the book and provide a more detailed definition of symbiosis.

My daughter and I spent a good while one afternoon pondering over this picture book and exclaimed at the awesome collage illustrations by Steve Jenkins. Goodness, there are so many! It must have taken forever to produce all the art in this book. One of my daughter's favorite pages is the one where the plover (bird) picks stuck pieces of meat out of the crocodile's teeth. The crocodile apparently has a lot of respect for this brave little bird and never chomps down! One depiction gets slightly gruesome (a small illustration of ravens eating a carcass), but for the most part the book won't startle young readers. The witty little phrases introducing each animal partnership are sure to generate some chuckles and lend a light-hearted touch to the non-fiction book. I can just imagine a giraffe saying to an oxpecker, "Lower, and a little to the left."

Highly recommended for school age on up. Younger kids may enjoy naming the animals and looking at the pictures.

Animal Planet has produced a whole video series on Odd Animal Couples - See their take on The Giraffe's Oxpecker here:

❖❖❖❖❖❖ stART Craft - Marker and Torn Paper Giant Letter "G" Giraffe and "O"-eyed Oxpecker Craft ❖❖❖❖❖❖

Jenkins uses cut and torn paper in his amazing, realistic illustrations so we decided to do something similar for our stART craft today, only large scale and not exactly realistic. To make the project more educational for my toddler, we incorporated a couple letters of the alphabet and made a Giant "G" Giraffe that stands 3-feet tall and an Oxpecker with a yellow "O" for an eye. I drew the giraffe on freezer paper and my daughter drew the Oxpecker. Everyone helped color the giraffe with markers and glue on the brown torn paper spots. It was a group effort and we're pretty proud of our Giraffe/Oxpecker art.

The Giraffe and Oxpecker really do "G-O" together!

We are submitting our giraffe art for inclusion in the One Million Giraffes project. I first learned about the online project after reading this post on that artist woman blog. To date, people from all over the world have added over 884,640 homemade giraffes to!

The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft Collection

A Mommy's Adventures hosts the "stART" meme (Story + Art) each week. Hope Is the Word hosts a Read Aloud Thursday link-up as well. Post your letter crafts on The Attached Mama's Alphabet Craft Collection blog.

I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)


Gidget Girl Reading said...

that turned out soo neat! I'm having the girls make some too I LOVE giraffe's!

thanks for linking up to mommy's little artist! it earns you an extra entry in my giveaway! :)

Stacie said...

I'm very interested in this book! I'm always on the look-out for new books! This is a great site!

Thanks for visiting my page! I hope your sunflowers grow big and tall! Have you read The Sunflower House? I'm posting on it today --sometime today!

Anonymous said...

This project turned out just adorable. It looks like a great book too.

The Attached Mama said...

This is SUCH a cool Letter G craft.

I am hosting a new blog collaboration called The Ultimate Alphabet Craft Collection There is a page for each letter to make ideas easier to find.

Would you be interested in linking up this blog post? (Also, we would love to have any other Alphabet craft ideas.)


Cathy @ The Attached Mama

Christy Killoran said...

First of all, this is the coolest craft!

I love giraffes, definitely my favorite animal, so I am heading over to check out that project! Thanks!

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

What a wonderful project, and your daughter oxpecker looks great. I marked this book in my "to read later" folder - thanks for the recommendation.

JDaniel4's Mom said...

The cooperative art project looks great. The giraffe with the G is really a great idea. How fun!

Jenny said...

I love it! I just looked to see if our library had this book, and they do! Your project is great, and I'm already having these grand ideas of covering every door in our house with these fun animals. :) Gonna have to start thinking about what we can contribute to the giraffe project - fo fun.

Moriah @ Please Pass the Salt said...

So cute! Maybe I should think about lifting the marker ban at our house. ;)

Thanks for linking up!

Olivia said...

I love that giraffe! I'm definitely going to have to copy that (I hope you don't mind!)

Amy said...

Sounds like a great book. I loved all of the art work the children did. Thanks for taking the time to link up..

Have an amazing weekend.

Thanks again..

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

Oh, I love Jenkins' work, so I'll DEFINITELY have to look this one up!

Great art project, too!

Fairion said...

What an amazing book. We are going to have to go read it right away. Thank you for the recommendation

Michelle Fiore said...

I love your giraffe picture! What a great idea for a craft. I think this book (and craft) would make a great addition to my preschool classroom! Also, "Move!" was just featured at my local museum for a kid friendly activity! Thanks for the review!
Michelle Berg

silly eagle books said...

Thanks for linking and I LOVE your giraffe! It turned out beautifully!

The Attached Mama said...

I featured this blog entry today! You can read about it here: