By Jeanne Willis
Illustrated by Tony Ross

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Hippospotamus has a spot on her bottom and she has no idea what it is.She gets advice from lots of other animals on what they think it is. Weasel thinks it’s the measles, Fox thinks its “hippopox”. Each animal she encounters has their own idea of what the spot on her bottom is. All the animals take turns at trying to decide what is wrong with Hippospotamus, but are not successful. A boy, at the end of the story who is searching for something he lost, ends up being the one who discovers what really is wrong with Hippospotamus. He discovers that he lost his gum when he “spots” it on the bottom of Hippospotamus and discovers it is not a spot at all.

The book is especially entertaining with the author’s use of the word Hippospotamus instead of hippopotamus (because of the spot on his bottom), along with the clever way the author uses “us” and “amus” to add to words such as “bottomus” and “shotamus” to make the sentences rhyme with Hippospotamus. Children will love the rhythmic sounds of the story through the clever word endings.

This book is a very entertaining book for teachers to use as a read aloud. Children will laugh at the illustrations and all the witty things the other animals come up with to try to help figure out what is wrong with Hippospotamus.
This would be a great book to read to children while they make connections with things that have happened in their own lives with regards to being sick, having the chicken pox, or some related problem.

This book is written by Jeanne Willis. She has written dozens of children’s books and also writes for film and television. She lives in North London with her family.

The illustrator, Tony Ross, has worked as a graphic designer and a cartoonist and is considered to be one of the finest children’s illustrators in the world. He has illustrated over 800 books for young readers.

  • HippospotamusTitle: Hippospotamus
  • Author: Jeanne Willis
  • Illustrator: Tony Ross
  • Publisher: Andersen Press USA/Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.
  • Reviewer: Rebecca L. Wagner
  • Hardback: 24 pages
  • ISBN: 978-1-4677-0316-1
  • Genre: Fiction-Animals

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