Argott's Reviews > But Not the Hippopotamus

But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
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Feb 20, 09

bookshelves: my_kids_are_torturing_me

Parents are faced with all sort sorts of difficult questions. Are feature-length Disney films too scary for kids? Will taking away the toy gun that your child carved from a bar of soap inhibit her creative spirit? Is it okay to spank your children after they punch you in the stomach? And will the aforementioned spanking only teach them to try to run away more quickly the next time they assault you? (For those of you without kids, the answer to each question is yes.)

On each rereading of this beloved children's book I am bothered by the isolation of the hippopotamus, and later, the armadillo. Who hasn't hidden behind a tree wondering why they are being excluded? However, it's obvious why the hog and the frog and the cat and the rats and the moose and the goose and the bear and the hare are so reticent. Hippopotamuses are widely acknowledged to be among the most dangerous animals in Africa. And armadillos carry leprosy.

And now parents face a new difficult question: Are young children ready to learn the truth about hippos and dillos? After reading But Not the Hippopotamus to my children for six of the longest years of my life, I strongly believe that this book is far more harmful to the adult who reads it than the child who hears it. Children, god-bless them, are resilient.
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message 1: by Jen (new)

Jen Gott I think everyone should read this review.


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