Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Hippos are Huge!

Hippos are Huge! written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Jonathan London is the author of the popular Froggy series.

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Hippos are Huge! There's a Book for That

This was a recent book shared with my class via a guest reader. I was amazed at how much I didn’t know about hippos!

Maybe your hippopotamus knowledge is more extensive than mine?

Let’s check. . .

True or false?

  • A hippo has the biggest mouth of any animal except a whale.
  • Hippos closest living relatives are dolphins, whales and porpoises.
  • Hippos can run faster than humans.
  • Hippos can hold their breath for up to 5 minutes.
  • A 6 month old hippo weighs 500 pounds.

So? What do you think? All of these facts? They are true!  I had no idea that hippos were related to sea mammals! And that they were so fast? Also surprised me. They can swim faster than an Olympic swimmer. Really!

Hippos are huge and amazing.

The best fact in this book for my students? Two male hippos may defend their territory by standing rump to rump and swinging their tails while swatting balls of dung at each other. Yes, a poop fight. Grade 3s and 4s found this quite wonderfully disgusting!

Students wrote book reviews on this book. They loved recounting the new facts they learned. I am sharing a few here:

Vicky rated the book 5/5 and writes: I discovered that hippos have a poop fight! A fact that surprised me was that a baby hippo weighs 100 pounds. I found out that an egret picks its dinner of insects out of a hippos ear. A hippo can weigh as much as fifty men! I still have two questions. How much does a female hippo weigh? How long does a hippo survive?

Brian rated the book 4/5 and writes: A fact that surprised me was that males fight with their poop and their tails. Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. They weigh over 4 tons. Female hippos give birth in shallow water and the calf has to swim to shore. Hippos are one of the endangered species. Male hippos usually have battle scars.

Soleen rated the book 3/5 and writes: So blog readers, why don’t you take a seat and listen to the story. These hippos are dangerous. They are disgusting because they poop on each other. Ewwww! And they take mud baths. They look really fat. To learn about more books to read follow Ms. Gelson’s blog and our class blog!

Steven rated the book 5/5 and writes: I learned that birds eat inside the ear of the hippo. I found out that hippos teeth are big and sharp. A baby hippo is called a calf. A female hippo is called a cow. A male hippo is called a bull.

Noella rated the book 5/5 and writes: The baby hippo is the calf, the Mom is called a cow and the dad is called a bull. The hippos are huge and dangerous and the hippos’ tusks are big. The newborn is born in the water. The Mom and baby have a mud bath to stay cool. 

Ava rated the book 4/5 and writes: A fact that surprised me was that hippos squirt poop at each other in battle. I wonder where the poop squirter goes afterward? I learned about more symbioisis. The egret bird cleans the hippo’s ear like the plover cleans the crocodile.

This book (published by Candlewick in 2015) has an index in the back and additional information about why hippos are listed as vulnerable on the Endangered Species List.

Thanks to Alyson from Kid Lit Frenzy for the inspiration to read and share more nonfiction picture books in 2015. Follow the link to Alyson’s blog to read about more nonfiction books you need to read!


7 thoughts on “Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday: Hippos are Huge!

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