Friday, April 22, 2016

Book review - Hippopotamister

Title: Hippopotamister
Author: John Patrick Green
Genre: graphic novel
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cute and surprisingly thoughtful

Summary(provided by publisher): The zoo isn't what it used to be. It's run down, and Hippo hardly ever gets any visitors. So he decides to set off for the outside with his friend Red Panda. To make it in the human world, Hippo will have to become a Hippopotamister: he'll have to act like a human, get a job, and wear a hat as a disguise. He's a good employee, whether he's a construction worker, a hair stylist, or a sous chef. But what he really needs is a job where he can be himself.

My opinion: This graphic novel can be appreciated on multiple levels. At the surface you have this simple story of two friends trying to find their place in the world and how it takes more than one person's strengths for an endeavor to succeed. Decent messages and solidly conveyed. When one considers it further, one can find a lot more meaning. Let's consider the two main characters. Red Panda is the first to leave the zoo. He comes back daily, talking about how great his job is, thou the reader will notice that said job changes daily. He's perpetually optimistic. Even though every job fails, he's certain that the next one will be perfect. Failure doesn't bring him down. Hippo succeeds at most everything. He has talent and works well under direction. Yet when Red Panda's mistakes get him fired, Hippo leaves too. He's very loyal to his friend and doesn't get upset with him for screwing up a good thing. And really, he needs Red Panda spurring him on. Otherwise he wouldn't have left the zoo. Then consider the rest of the animals. They lie about, despondent, as their home crumbles around them. This leads us to the third message - the need for action. Nothing gets fixed by moping. When he puts his mid to it, Hippo can get the zoo back to pristine condition and Red Panda can draw crowds. But none of it happens without effort. A surprisingly deep set of messages for a simple and entertaining book.

More information: Hippopotamister releases May 10.
Advance Reader Copy provided by NetGalley.

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