Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Elmer and the Hippos

Elmer and the Hippos

David McKee
Picture Book  Series
For ages 4 to 6
Andersen Press USA, 2010   ISBN: 978-0761364429

One day Elmer the patchwork elephant is talking to Tiger and Lion when three elephants come up. They tell Elmer that the hippos have come to the river and they want Elmer to tell the hippos to go away. Elmer goes down to the river and the hippos explain that they know that they are “not wanted,” but their river has dried up and they have no where else to go. Elmer is a kind fellow and he tells the hippos to “make yourself at home.” He will try to convince the other elephants that it is all right for the hippos to be there.

The elephants reluctantly agree to let the hippos stay, but they are not happy. Elmer decides to go and see the hippo’s river. When he gets there, the river is completely dry, which seems very odd. Elmer decides to investigate, and soon he understands what caused the river to dry up. If the hippos and elephants can be convinced to work together they might be able to bring the river back.

In this delightful Elmer the patchwork elephant book, children will see how negative and harmful prejudice can be. They can see, thanks to Elmer, that being prejudiced hurts everybody involved, and the solution is to have an open mind and an open heart, just like Elmer does.