Reviews for How to Clean a Hippopotamus : A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships


Booklist Reviews 2010 March #2
*Starred Review* The husband-and-wife team behind such award-winning titles as What Do You Do with a Tail like This? (2003) presents another creative, wholly engaging introduction to science in this picture book that explores unexpected animal partnerships. Many of the spotlighted relationships illustrate mutualism, a type of symbiosis that benefits all the animals involved: African helmeted turtles, for example, nibble away unwanted algae from hippos, whose backs, in turn, provide sunny basking spots for their cold-blooded cleaners. The spreads have an exciting, comics-inspired feel. Each page combines panels of multiple images, rendered in Jenkins' superbly crafted paper-collage style, with brief lines of concise, clear text and attention-grabbing headlines ("Armed and Ready") that direct the narrative flow. The format is entertaining, but as always, the authors' attention to scientific facts is serious, and their lucid explanations avoid any suggestion that these arrangements are cozy pairings between interspecies BFFs: "Animals . . . remain in these relationships only because the partnership somehow helps them survive." These fascinating stories from the natural world will easily interest young people, many of whom will want to move on from the appended notes about each featured critter to more in-depth titles that further explain the mysteries of animal symbiosis.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
"How does a turtle keep a hippopotamus clean?" The answer to this question and other examples of symbiosis show how animals and plants benefit from natural partnerships within the ecosystem. Though image reduction compromises clarity in some spreads, sharp paneled layouts frame Jenkins's colorful cut-paper illustrations. Reading list. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #2
Jenkins and Page team up in this packed-to-the-gills introduction to symbiosis. Tantalizing questions open the book, presenting readers with illustrations showing a giraffe with a bird in its ear, an alligator with a plover entering its toothy mouth and a turtle unabashedly swimming up to a gigantic hippopotamus. The illustrator's familiar colorful and dramatic cut- and torn-paper illustrations are the stars of the book, but they are not displayed to their customary advantage. Pages are divided into smaller boxes, some with borders and others lying on top of the larger picture; the layout resembles a comic-book page more than anything else. The text is placed directly on top of the illustrations, running along the side or in separate boxes. The overall effect of each spread is busyness, and there is so much going on that it is difficult to know how to read some of the pages. Fewer examples per page would have allowed a more spacious design with larger illustrations and fewer text boxes, which would have benefited the intended audience. Tiny icons illustrate the three pages of fact-laden backmatter. (Informational picture book. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 May #1

Who better than a husband and wife team to spotlight intriguing partnerships in nature? Among the many relationships Jenkins and Page (How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?) explore is that of the upside-down jellyfish and the crab it lives upon. "The jellyfish's stinging tentacles provide protection in return for crab meal leftovers." Jenkins's meticulous cut-paper illustrations, as eye-catching as ever, reveal fascinating stories of animal symbiosis on each page. The paneled layout--graphic novel style--offers a dynamic format for these concise, present-tense stories of mutualism, complete with catchy titles. "Dinner is served" reads the spread about a seagull and a sunfish (the massive sunfish attracts the seagull with its fin, and in turn the bird eats parasites living on the fish). Closeups, aerial views, and vignettes of animals realistically rendered in Jenkins's trademark collage have a cinematic quality. An author note about the different types of symbiotic relationships, as well as appended pages detailing each animal's size, habitat, and diet, reinforce the book's value as a scientific introduction to the topic. Ages 6-9. (May)

[Page 48]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2010 April

K-Gr 3--This book introduces readers to symbiosis, focusing on relationships in which each partner benefits from the collaboration. While readers may be familiar with birds that groom mammals or small fish that clean bigger ones, more unusual pairings include the boxer crab, which can pluck poisonous anemone, use them as lethal pom-poms with which to chase away larger prey, and then return the favor with stray scraps of food dropped from its imprecise claws. The book concludes with a relationship that will be familiar to many readers--that of humans and dogs. It is a nice way to expand the topic into the domestic sphere, as well as highlighting an area in which the relationship between humans and animals is mutually beneficial, and not simply tilted in our favor. Jenkins's trademark collage illustrations continue to impress with their vibrant and stunning manipulation of cut and torn paper. The book is formatted in a block, comic-book style and is written at a level that is accessible to young browsers yet suitable for older researchers. Supplementary information about the size, habitat, and diet of each animal is included in the back matter. This title is another outstanding offering from this extraordinarily talented, wonderfully symbiotic couple.--Kara Schaff Dean, Walpole Public Library, MA

[Page 146]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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