A Library of the School of EducationDPIUW-Madison School Of EducationUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonUW-Madison LibraryUW-Madison Catalog
About the CCBC
Authors and Illustrators
Recommended Books for Children and Young Adults
CCBC Calendar and Events
CCBC Podcasts
CCBC Publications
Intellectual Freedom

Support the CCBC
Support the CCBC
Are you a...K-12 TeacherLibrarianEarly Childhood Care ProviderUW Student / Faculty


by Jeanette Winter

Published by Harcourt, 2006
32 pages
ISBN: 0152054952

Ages 3-6

There are almost more words in the title than are in the rest of this spare and poignant book. Small pages match the small size of a baby hippopotamus, who is shown swimming, eating, and sleeping with his mother, until they are separated by rising water and a great wave. After a night alone in the water, the hippo reaches shore and is moved by humans to a park-like area. Among the animals inside, he meets a giant tortoise. The text consists solely of conversation bubbles reflecting the variations in emotion as the baby animal first feels “mama” toward his hippo mother, than searches frantically for “MAMA?” in the raging water, and then forlornly wonders “mama?” as he’s transported to his new home. As his situation calms, he again thinks “mama” as he swims, eats, and sleeps by the tortoise, who responds with “baby.” A concluding author’s note describes how a baby hippo swimming in Kenya’s Sabaki River was swept out to sea in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Found on shore the next day by wildlife officials and local fisherman and brought to a park enclosure, he attached himself to a 130-year old male giant tortoise, who acts as a surrogate mother to the displaced baby hippo. (MVL) ©2006 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

book cover
Book of the Week

In accordance with the UW-Madison Accessibility Policy, this site makes every effort to comply with the World Wide Web standards defined in the Federal Rehabilitation Act Section 508, specifically subsections 1194.22 and subsection 1194.31. If you need additional resources or have any questions or concerns about this site, please contact the site administrator for more information.
UW crest