(Yep... affiliate links are included which means, if you buy through me, I get some coffee money ... though not enough for the raisin toast as well. Full disclosure listed below.)
Fiona the Hippo
by Richard Cowdrey
Zonderkidz (August 7, 2018)
Audience: Ages 4 to 8
'On a cold Winter's night, a baby hippo was born.'
It's a great opening line. It just encourages you to turn the page and read more. I can just imagine my grandkids encouraging me, "What happens next, Nan? Read it!" It's the opening page of the picture storybook, Fiona the Hippo, published by ZonderKids.
You know, there's something about a hippo, isn't there, that almost everyone seems to like, especially a baby hippo.
So.. will you and your kids enjoy this book? Is it worth buying and reading to them? I did, and here's what I found. Oh... and Zonderkids have also produced a special bonus. You can find it below.
1. Fiona the Hippo is a real character.
But first.... Fiona the Hippo. One of the appeals of this picture storybook is that Fiona is, in fact, a real baby hippo not just a fictional character created for a children's book. She was born at the Cincinnati Zoo but as a premmie. She arrived 6 weeks early and quickly became an online celebrity. She now has her own Facebook show.
You can read about Fiona in the introduction of this book, Fiona the Hippo, or check out the clip below to find out more about her rough start to life. Show the clip after you've read the story to them.
2. The simple text makes this an easy book to read.
There have been times when I've ordered a picture storybook online only to be disappointed when it arrives. Sometimes, there is just too much text, too much detail for young ones to appreciate. And kids quickly become bored.
A good picture storybook uses engaging language that is age-appropriate. Ideally, there should be only a sentence or two per page. You'll be pleased to know that this book uses simple text really well.
3. The illustrations in this book are, well, just beautiful.
Richard Cowdrey is an New York Times best-selling illustrator. His artwork can be found on advertisements, calendars, book covers and prints. And he also illustrates storybooks. I'm sure you'll love his artwork in this book... it's great.
But there's more to illustrations in a picture storybook than looking attractive. They should extend and enhance the text. The pictures should help to keep the reader's attention but also stimulate their imagination.
I love it when my grandkids listen to the story and then tell me so much more about the story and the feelings of the characters by looking at the illustrations. So I'm looking forward to hearing more about this story through their eyes.
4. Fiona's fun antics will connect with and delight the kids.
She certainly has lots to learn and children will love her tangles with pool noodles and other troubles as she develops the skills a young hippo needs. But, with each challenge she repeats, "I've got this." Maybe your own kids will face their own challenges with this same focus after learning about Fiona.
5. The ending to this story is a happy, positive one.
Fiona realises that there is something that she still needs.. to meet and make friends with others at the zoo. And this, for many kids, can be really daunting so they will enjoy seeing Fiona handle this, too.
Share the endearing story of Fiona the hippo with your kids. I'm sure that they will enjoy it,, and so will you. :) .
Then, download the additional learning resources provided by Zonderkids. You'll find an activity pack for the young ones: make a mask, discover their own Fiona membership card, find a way through the maze and more. For older kids, there is also a curriculum guide with more activities to develop their skills and understand, Find both below.
Just a quick note in closing... there is also a board book version for your toddlers.
Disclosure: At Grandma's Place is committed to high standards of integrity and quality. I do not promote any brand I do not believe meets these standards, and I only promote brands I would purchase myself.
If I don't love it, and don't think you'll love it, it won't appear on my blog.