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African Animal Tales
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The story of how Hippo came to live in the river instead of on dry land.

About the Author

Author: Mwenye Hadithi was born in Nairobi in a rambling brick and wood house surrounded by ten acres. His early life was full of animals. He attended London University, studying languages and foreign literature. When his first attempts at short stories and radio plays were sold immediately, he decided to be the next great African Writer. Illustrator: Adrienne Kennaway moved from Kenya to London when she was 15 to study at the Ealing School of Art. Later she attended L'Academia de Belle Arte in Rome. It was on her return to Kenya that she began illustrating the picture books that have made her well known.

Reviews

PreS-Gr 2 Short declarative sentences that have rhythm and cadence tell the story of Hippowho was hot! He asks permission of the god Ngai to cool himself in the rivers and streams, promising never ever to eat a fish. Ngai agrees, securing Hippo's agreement to live on the land at night and eat grass. The pages are ablaze with color and activityred and orange double-page spreads depict the unrelenting heat; these contrast with the soft blues and greens of the cool river. Animals meander and congregate; ants and birds cluster, while Hippo wanders off alone to seek Ngai's permission to swim. Beguiling Hippo is a lumpy, lumbering pachyderm who looks absolutely miserable as he seeks shade under a small cluster of fronds; bewildered as he leaps into the river, only to discover that he can't swim; and perfectly content as he opens his mouth to prove that he has kept his bargain: ``Look, Ngai! No fishes!'' A perfect pourquoi story that's bound to become a story hour staple, as well as a hot item for beginning readers. Trev Jones, ``School Library Journal''

An ethnic folk-tale bursting with colour and vitality. -- Nursery World

Warm-colored watercolors along with a starkly rhythmic text create an African atmosphere for this striking picture book. The same talented author/artist team that created Greedy Zebra! tells the tale of a hot hippo, who prefers to live in the water instead of on land. He turns to Ngai, god of Everything and Everywhere, but Ngai is inclined not to grant Hippo's wish, fearing he will eat all the fish (and bellowing, ``I love my little fishes!''). When Hippo promises not to, Ngai consents under the condition that Hippo `` . . . come out of the water at night and eat grass . . . '' The happy hippo runs back, jumps in the water and sinks. He only knows how to run along the bottom holding his breath, and to this day that is what he doessurfacing now and then to tell Ngai he still keeps his promise. One question remains unanswered. How happy is Hippo down there? (2-8)

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