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!


Monday June 1st, 2015

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

I have been sharing a reading photo of the week each week.  I love this photo of my student reading to his little K buddy. They were sitting in amongst books behind a bookshelf reading together. Calm, content, engaged. I love this photo 🙂

Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

imwayrYard Sale written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

When I first heard about this book, I was so very excited. So many of my all time favourite picture books have been written by Eve Bunting. So many of the books I have loved lately have been illustrated by Lauren Castillo. A book with their combined talents? What could be better? Well, that is a loaded question. Certainly, not much could be better. But, I should have anticipated that this amazing talent combined would also mean a whole lot of emotion captured in a picture book experience. Eve Bunting tells such important and raw stories. Lauren Castillo‘s illustrations have a charming, nostalgic, open feel. This book slowly, gently, beautifully delivers. It managed to knock me over by the time I reached the back cover. Full of love, connection and a child’s need for security, this is a beautiful, important book.

 Yard Sale Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

Wish by Matthew Cordell

Becoming a parent was not an easy feat for my husband and me. Infertility. Pain. Longing. All of these things were my world for four years. Finally, our second in vitro attempt was successful and now I have 12 year old twins! Honestly, reading this book made that turmoil feel like yesterday and I am teary each time I read this title. However, despite the sad emotions there is so much hope and celebration here. What a special book.

WIsh-Matthew Cordell Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

I so appreciate Matthew Cordell for capturing, so tenderly, the feeling of wishing for that very wanted child.

Water is Water written by Miranda Paul and illustrated by Jason Chin

Lyrical, informative, and beautiful. This nonfiction picture book is the perfect book to launch a study of water. I think it will be one of the first books I share with my new class in the fall along with many hands on water experiments.

Water Is Water- A Book About the Water Cycle Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

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

I will be sharing this title along with student reviews later this week. A fantastic nonfiction picture book read aloud.

Hippos are huge! Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea

I could rave and rave about this little gem. Suffice it to say as soon as I finished reading this title aloud, my class felt compelled to write notes to the author begging for more from Sparkles and Ballet Cat!

 Ballet Cat Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

 Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

No 1 Car Spotter by Atinuke

This illustrated chapter book is ideal for younger readers but better still I think, a perfect read aloud for a Grade 1-3 class early in the year. Much to love in this title: the unique characters, the entertaining dynamics and the beautiful setting of Africa. So very, very good.

No1_Car_Spotter Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

Blackbird Fly by Erin Entrada Kelly

Early on I wasn’t so sure about this novel. There was nasty middle grade interactions that made me absolutely cringe. Cruelty, insensitivity, racism. Miserable stuff. But midway through, I began to love the friendship developing between Apple and Evan. Evan is a kid I wish existed in every school – so many young people need him to help navigate the social world that can be so cruel. He approaches it with wise perspective and personal strength. He’s just plain smart and really right on so many levels. Lots to think about and talk about in this debut novel.

Blackbird Fly Monday June 1st, 2015 There's a Book for That

Updates on my 2015 Reading Goals:

2015 Chapter Book Challenge: 27/80 complete

Goodreads Challenge: 205/415 books read

#MustReadin2015: 11/24 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 44/100 titles

Diverse Books in 2015: 20/50 books read

Up next? I am delighted to be once again reading Deborah Wiles: Love, Ruby Lavender