Seriously...can you go wrong with a Steve Jenkins book? I think not. His latest, with Robin Page, is a really look look at animal relationships, one that both you AND the kiddos can learn something from.
How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships starts off with a fun title and just gets better from there. Focusing on "symbiosis," a process where very different animals form relationships, a whole range of animals and their often strange partners are showcased.
We learn about remora fish attaching themselves to tiger sharks, feeding off the algae and parasites on the shark's skin. And the boxer crab being protected by sea anemones. And, as the title refers to, African helmeted turtles cleaning the algae and water plants off the skin of hippos, and in turn, the hippos let the turtle bask in the sun on its back.
These relationships are all throughout the animal kingdom, though most a lot of us never would have thought of. We would typically consider most of these animals to be out to eat each other (like the badger/wolf relationship or the ant/caterpillar relationship), leaving this book to teach us, both adults and children, quite a bit about animal partnerships in the wild.
Jenkins' illustrations, as always, are wonderful, and add to the text perfectly. The pages have a blocked layout, which was interesting, not something we see every day, and children will be drawn to its design.
Extra information on all the animals is included in the back, which is nice for expansion on the subject, always a plus.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5
How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships
Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Review copy provided by publisher
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