Friday, December 07, 2007

#8 Favorite Christmas Picture Book: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas—John Rox & Bruce Whatley

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas is one of my favorite Christmas songs and it's also a book. The text is clever and the illustrations are charming.

Promo info: Christmas is coming, and one little girl wants nothing more than a hippopotamus to play with and enjoy. But will Santa Claus and her parents make her Christmas wish come true? Illustrated by Bruce Whatley, this book uses the lyrics from the song "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" as it's text. The song was written in 1950 by John Rox and became a nationwide hit in 1953 when ten-year-old Oklahoma native Gayla Peevey sang the song as a way to raise money for the Oklahoma City Zoo's first hippopotamus. In December of that year the city received Matilda the hippo for Christmas.

Whatley also illustrates another book based on a Christmas song, Here Come Santa Claus. These illustrations are very rich and I love the Santa faces.

Promo info: "Here Comes Santa Claus" was Gene Autry's first holiday recording and an immediate hit. Now artist Bruce Whatley has created a curious North Pole puppy who stows away on Santa's sleigh for an unforgettable Christmas Eve adventure. Whatley gussies up the singing cowboy's bouncy classic. Complementing the familiar lyrics, the visual story tells of a boy whose note to Santa explains that he "already asked for a genuine cowboy hat" for Christmas but really wants a puppy. Fortunately, as jolly old Saint Nick heads "right down Santa Claus lane," it appears he has a stowaway who fits the bill. Interesting perspectives include an aerial view looking down on the reindeer-borne sleigh. Music and lyrics are included on the endpapers.

Now playing on my iPod: I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas


Anonymous said...

Can't say I've heard of either book nor the Hippo song, but all look very interesting. Beautiful illustrations, especially on the Santa face. I'll have to file these recommendations in the back of my mind; you never know when a great child's gift will be needed. Thanks!

Candace E. Salima said...

They sound like great books, Karlene. I'll definitely have to check them out. I'll get in touch with you and get your books back to you some time this week. Let's coordinate.

And by the way, your husband has been chosen as one of the six finalists for the Best Husband in the World contest. Pop on over to my blog, take a look and vote. Then please spread the news far and wide.