Hello, Hippo! Goodbye, Bird! by Kristyn Crow, illustrated by Poli Bernatene [in Booklist]
Hippo doesn’t know it yet, but Bird is exactly the friend he needs. Despite Hippo’s insistent rejections (grunts, sighs, definitive cries of “Go away!”), Bird doesn’t give up.
Just look! He can be a stylish hat, provide umbrella-like shelter, even stand in for a “hippopota-mustache”! Yet Hippo is convinced he wants to be left alone, even after Bird saves him from a swarm of attack bees: “For the last time—GOODBYE, BIRD!” But when skies darken, thunder booms, and Bird seems truly gone, Hippo realizes solitude is not what he wants after all.
Kristyn Crow’s warmhearted buddy tale is generously infused with energetic humor, and Poly Bernatene depicts both Hippo and Bird with a perfect balance of gruff and goofy, reluctance and excitement. Against the backdrop of a teeming African landscape, and while flamingos, zebras, a rhino, elephant, antelope, and giraffe look on, author and artist show how frenemies become BFFs.
What’s not to love about that?