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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,121 ratings  ·  229 reviews
The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair sty ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published May 10th 2016 by First Second
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John Green Yes, it is a comic book-format kids book, for approximate ages 5 and up.

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Middle grade book about a Hippo and a red panda. They live in a zoo that is in disrepair. The red panda leaves and is working all these great jobs. I like the relationship between Hippo and Red Panda. They are quite opposite and it works out well.

Panda is more surface and Hippo is more substance. Hippo is a great employee while Panda thinks he's a good employee.

The book is a cute little story and it was actually fun. I enjoyed the ending. It's makes up for the last First Second graphic novel I
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This book is perfection...everything I look for in a read-alone book for my children. It has the added benefit of being a graphic novel, which is right up their alley these days, though it can be argued that it has all the appeal of a picture book in graphic novel format. Great artwork and a fun story. The overall message here is one that parents will embrace and adore. We should all aspire to be a little more like Hippopotamister. We can all have a positive impact on our community by sharing ou ...more
First Second Books
Jun 14, 2016 marked it as first-second-publications
We're so delighted to publish this wonderful book about Hippo and Red Panda, as they navigate the job market for the first time and try to figure out where they fit into the world.

(I feel like this is a classic Joseph Campbell quest novel structure -- where the characters go out into the world to gain experience and then come home and use it for good on their own communities! How's that for a kids graphic novel?)

The art and the message in this book are both charming -- we hope you enjoy the boo
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Who knew that a hippopotamus could be so handy? In this delightful graphic novel, Hippopotamus is getting some employment help from his friend Red Panda (one of my favorite zoo animals, BTW). They try a number of occupations. None of these jobs work out for some reason. Hippopotamus seems to be thriving, but then you see what Red Panda is up to. . . Then they try doing day care, and the kids flip for Red Panda. Hippopotamus is done with being in the outside world after all that. Could there be a ...more
Jillian Heise
A funny graphic novel, perfect for younger elementary beginning graphic novel readers. Predictable, repeating structure that has a message that will resonate with older readers as well. Kids will laugh at Red Panda's unsuccessful attempts at jobs outside the zoo, while cheering for Hippo's wearing of many hats.

Pair with Ellie by Mike Wu or Extraordinary Warren by Sarah Dillard
I found this story simply charming! Hippo and Red Panda live in an abandoned and run-down zoo. Red Panda heads off to work in the world of humans, and convinces Hippo to join him. They try all sorts of jobs from chef to dentist to hair stylist but get fired from every one (not for lack of Hippo's skills, though!) In the end, Hippo returns to the zoo and puts all of his new skills to work.

I really loved all of the morals that this story has - from friendship, to never giving up, to showing how ev
Ms. B
Mar 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
After leaving their zoo home (which is going to heck in a handbasket) , Hippopotamus and Red Panda must find new jobs as they can no longer simply be a 'hippo' or 'red panda'. They work a variety of jobs. Hippopotamus is a natural at them. Red Panda is not which leads the pairs hopping from one job to the next.
Will Red Panda ever find a job he excels at? And will the pair ever return to their former home, the zoo?
Bottom line: A funny story about discovering your talents.
Eric Mesa
Sep 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I interviewed John Patrick Green at Baltimore Comic-Con 3 years ago.

You can watch it here!

Although I liked the concept behind Hippopotamister, my oldest (the right age for it at the time) didn't care for it. But now, one of my twins is really into his other series - InvestiGators. Since the second book still isn't out (I think it comes out at the end of this month), I got them Hippopotamister. It was a huge hit tonight.

What I loved is how Green takes what seems like a silly premise (and some goo
May 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scott

By John Patrick Green
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott


The zoo isn’t what it used to be. It’s run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he’ll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He’s a good employee, whether he’s a constru
Sep 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Okay so to preface this as I will be reviewing quite a large number of young adult literature now by nature of my new job as a school librarian and hey the books are colorful, engaging and written to entertain so I am ecstatic about reviewing kids books and going back to their world of humor, lessons, drama and a problem that are introduced and solved in 100 pages or less..their books teach me how to be a carefree kid again and I am having so much fun reading them...and meeting authors..So yea a ...more
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hippopotamister is a graphic novel tale featuring best friends Hippo and Red Panda, who reside in an old City Zoo. The zoo has become rundown and no one visits anymore. In desperation Red Panda leaves to find a better life. Since Hippo is his longtime friend, he returns often to convince Hippo to leave his tired life at the zoo behind too. Finally he's convinced and dressed as a Hippopotamister, since only humans can get jobs, the two set off to find jobs at a construction site. Hippo's lack of ...more
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Not since the early days of Candlewick have I ever felt that a publisher so consistently published wonderful things, every book something I like. Of course this book was great-it's published by First Second! I found out about this book in a slideshow of books nominated for "The Undies" ( )-books with cool/interesting/clever/story expanding covers underneath the book jacket.
I really liked this clever story, which as soon as I saw where it was going was ea
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Adorable graphic novel about a hippopotamus and a red panda who live in a broken down zoo. Red Panda decides to leave and every week he visits Hippo to talk about how his latest career is going. Eventually Hippo decides to join him out in the real world and become a "HippopotaMister". Hippopotamister turns out to be very good at every career he tries, but Red Panda always seems to get them fired, until they try working at a day care center when Red Panda becomes a success, but Hippopotamister al ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Jun 03, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a cute picture book done in a comic book style. The book is mostly narrated with narration blocks in the frames with some added dialogue balloons. Hippo and Red Panda discover a variety of jobs out in the "real" world but Hippo is never really satisfied. When he comes back to the zoo he sees he's learned a lot of new skills and puts them to work refurbishing the zoo and other animals. No big morals just mostly a look at career options and putting your skills to use to make a better world ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A story of friendship and finding oneself. Adorable Red Panda convinces the hard-working hippo to leave the failing Zoo and find a job among the humans, It turns out the the Hippopotamister is good at a lot of things, and after he learns all that he can from the outside world, he goes back to save the Zoo! Delightfully drawn and sure to be devoured by young readers.

Full disclosure: I received this ARC through Netgalley.
Beth P
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love, love, LOVE this book! The incredible design of the dust jacket, the case and the endpapers will draw you in before you even read the first words. Once inside, readers will chuckle over the illustrations, feel a bit of sympathy for Red Panda and cheer on Hippo. This graphic novel belongs in EVERY primary classroom and library. Hippopotamister will be one that kids read again and again.
Scott Robins
May 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-kids
This one has all the checkmarks for a fantastic graphic novel for very early readers - simple yet engaging story, two delightful main characters, repetition, appealing artwork and big open panels, a powerful yet sweet message and a ton of heart. Super.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Picked this up from a library display because my daughter loves hippos. The book is a bit young for both of my kids at this point but it was a fun read. There were jokes that made me laugh out loud. Got to discuss with my younger child about what it means to "wear many hats". ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, animals, j
Adorable. I'll be recommending this (and Little Robot) to kiddos who are transitioning into slightly longer stories, but aren't quite ready for early chapter books. ...more
This was a cute graphic novel for younger readers
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: new-readers, graphic
Adorable and clever! A perfect entry into graphic novels for young readers.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2017
What's not to love about a graphic novel featuring an adorable Hippo?! Thanks to Chelsey for pointing me to it, especially knowing my love of Hippos! Read it, you won't regret it! ...more
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: pbf-mammals, jf-humor
Very short graphic novel.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it liked it
It was good, I'm just bitter that two animals got more jobs straight out of the zoo than I ever got out of college XD ...more
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Beginning Chapter-Book Readers Who Enjoy Animal Stories
Resident at a run-down dilapidated old zoo, Hippo longs to join his friend Red Panda out in the wider world in this hilarious graphic novel for the younger chapter-book set. When Panda invites him along on his next attempt to disguise himself as a human and find work, Hippo jumps at the chance. But although Hippo triumphs in almost everything they attempt, from hair-cutting to cooking, Panda himself is less than successful. As his friend grows ever more resentful, Hippo himself realizes that bec ...more
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
This is the first true graphic novel I’ve read to my kids, so I have nothing to compare this to. My kids LOVED this. It’s was a quick read and a super fun, cute story. The overall message is great too: using your gifts/talents to make your community a better place.
Anna Davidson
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous graphic novel for lower primary students.
Dragan Nanic
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My wife bought this book for our daughter as a memento from our visit to Washington. We found it in an amazing comic store - Big Planet Comics at U St NW.

Beautifully illustrated story of a hippopotamus and his friend red panda. It is a tale of finding the right call in life, the journey to it and most important, the friendships along the way. It is inspirational, joyful and positive and I cannot wait to read it with our daughter.
Jun 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Darling graphic novel for kids. It includes some fun, subtle humor.
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John Green grew up on Long Island and has worked in New York City ever since graduating from School of Visual Arts for Graphic Design in 1997. He was the comics consultant for Disney Adventures magazine, and in addition to Disney has written, illustrated, or otherwise worked on comics for Nickelodeon, Dreamworks, Scholastic, DC Comics, and First Second Books. When not drawing comics John creates a ...more

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