That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile by Sean Taylor

That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile

Written by Sean Taylor
Illustrated by Laurent Cardon

3+ readers   5+ readers   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

For anyone wondering what to do should a hippopotamus come to visit, there’s lots of useful advice in this book. For example, if he wants to play a game, you should choose something splishy, sploshy and splashy, because that’s what makes a hippopotamus happy! The format – instruction followed by substantiation – is very satisfying and the half rhymes make the text fun to read aloud. The contrast between the little girl and her enormous guest will have children giggling. Watch out too for the frog who pops up on each page to offer an added, silent commentary on the action. ~ Andrea Reece

A Piece of Passion from Publisher, Janetta Otter-Barry I love the way the enormous, happy hippo ambles into the small child’s home and shares his day. I think this picture book is a winning mix of fantasy with a real toddler’s day. My favourite bit is where the hippo springs his final surprise. He is coming back again soon – and all his animal friends are coming too. Great fun, and a lovely, satisfying bedtime read-aloud.


That's What Makes a Hippopotamus Smile by Sean Taylor

When a hippopotamus comes round to your house don't be worried or scared by his size, just hug him and open the door really wide because...that's what makes a hippopotamus come inside! What do you do when a hippopotamus comes to visit? Play splashy-sploshy games, of course, to make him happy. Share silly toys in a big warm bath, to make him laugh. Give him a great big crunchy salad-treat, as that's what a hippo likes to eat. And when he's ready to go home, do a little dance and say goodbye in style - because that's what makes a hippopotamus smile! And now that you're his new best friend he'll be sure to want to come round again - maybe not on his own next time!


'a laugh aloud introduction to verse...With bold outlines and string colour this will appeal to three-to five-year-olds.' Irish Examiner

'The lilting repetitive text echoes the enjoyment shared by the hippo and his hostess: the page turns beautifully punctuate the story, the space on each spread fully inhabited by the bold expressive illustrations, revelling in the hippo's size in contrast to his small companion. An exuberant yet reassuring book for sharing.' Booktrust

'The playful, half rhyming text is cleverly structured with 'Because'...used to link action and reaction both of which are amusingly portrayed in Cardon's comical mixed media scenes.' Books for Keeps

About the Author

Sean Taylor

Sean Taylor has written more than 40 books for young readers. These include the Purple Class series of comic adventures set in an urban primary school, a collection of folktales from the Amazon called The Great Snake, a novel for teenagers called A Waste of Good Paper, and picture books such as The World Champion of Staying Awake, illustrated by Jimmy Liao and Boing!, illustrated by Bruce Ingman. He lives in Bristol with his wife and two sons. Visit Sean at

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Book Info


32 pages
Interest Age: From 3


Sean Taylor
More books by Sean Taylor

Author's Website


Frances Lincoln Childrens Books an imprint of Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd

Publication date

4th June 2015




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