My Hippo Has the Hiccups and Other Poems I Totally Made Up
Poems by: Kenn Nesbitt
Illustrated by: Ethan Long
Published by: Jabberwocky/Sourebooks (April 2009)
Kenn Nesbitt’s newest book of poetry, My Hippo Has the Hiccups will arrive on bookstore shelves in April 2009. That said, since the title poem is all over the Internet and a few of the other poems are on Kenn’s Poetry4Kids.com website, I felt comfortable posting a review.
Last week, on one of the days schools were closed, Catherine and I grabbed some hot chocolate and a bunch of books. Thankfully we weren’t reading and sipping at the same time. Otherwise, we would have had a mess! Among the 150 odd pages, you’ll find poems on everything from princesses and monsters to ketchup and warts. The poems with a predictable gross-out factor (“My Nostril Smells Awesome“) are balanced with the cute ones (“My Elephant Thinks I’m Wonderful“).
Unlike most books that you read from front to back, this is one you can read any way you like. Catherine asked to start with the Table of Contents, so we moved through the book in all sorts of directions. By taking a haphazard approach, we probably stayed with the book longer than if we had tried to read them in order.
To round out the book, there is a CD. Kenn reads 39 of the poems with all the enthusiasm and sound effects you’d want in a read-aloud. In the product description on Amazon, the publisher notes that the author will “crack jokes and tell stories about how the poems came to be.” While we were able to enjoy the poems on CD, we didn’t have the other bonus material.
My Hippo Has the Hiccups is a great book for early and transitional readers. The poems are short (most are less than a page) and there is plenty of white space, even on pages that aren’t illustrated. The very well-executed rhyming scheme, also helps early and remedial readers build their vocabulary with sound-alike words. Listening to the audio CD is nice because it lets them follow along.
There are lots of giggles and laughs packed between the covers of this collection of read-aloud poems for kids. The author understands kids and the things they like to read and guffaw about. Whether you are looking for a way to introduce poetry or just encourage reading, this is a book to consider.