Book review: How to clean a hippopotamus; 4 out of 5 stars #bookaday

how to clean a hippopotamus book coverby Steve Jenkisn and Robin Page
Non-fiction, picture book
Interest level: K-3
Reading level: 5.2
4 out of 5 stars

This is an interesting non-fiction picture book that looks at different symbiotic relationships found in nature. The illustrations are stunning from an art perspective — cartoon-like, yet realistic, renderings in Jenkins’ crafted paper/collage style. While I like the illustrations, I would personally rather see stunning Nic Bishop-type photographs accompany the text. With a 5th-grade reading level, I feel the cartoon-like illustrations detract from the book’s appeal to the older elementary age group and result in fewer readers.

Teachers could definitely use this book to accompany a science lesson on symbiosis, but would also need to provide access to credible photographs of the animals.

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