How to Clean a Hippopotamus – book review

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How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships
by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Juvenile Nonfiction (Grades 4-7)
Intricate and colorful torn paper collages illustrate the fascinating symbiotic (mutualistic) relationships between various animals and organisms. Their stories are told in comic book/graphic novel-like panels, describing the nature of the relationship and how it benefits each animal. Even if you know something about symbiosis, this book really brings it to life – from cleaner birds and fish that risk their lives removing parasites from otherwise deadly predators to interspecies hunting teams (badgers and coyotes working together? Wow!) – young people (and adults) will find their curiosity piqued by these mutually beneficial pairings. The book ends with an animal (and a relationship) everyone will recognize – man’s best friend, the dog, and its people! The author biography states that: “Robin Page and Steve Jenkins share a burrow in Boulder, Colorado, where they work and forage together, occasionally picking lint off of each other’s sweaters…” Highly recommended for budding naturalists!
Reviewed by YA Librarian