The Sandra Boynton Books
Hippos and More

facing pages, caption added

The Sandra Boynton books: over 40 of them!

Children's book review by Sarah Denslow

Ages 0-4

Toddler classics from the greeting card lady

Oh, those hippopotamuses. And elephants. And pigs. And, well, I’m not quite sure what some of them are…

Identifiable or not, the creatures in Boynton’s books always put a smile on my face (perhaps particularly the hippos). They are lovable, rather pudgy animals, who contain an amazing enthusiasm for all that they undertake, weather it be brushing teeth or going out for a jog.

Boyton’s verse is upbeat and pithy, meant for the youngest of readers, but appreciable by all ages. The books generally deal with subjects that are main parts of children’s lives: bedtime, bath-time, getting dressed, making friends, etc.

Boynton's board books are quite numerous, but I will mention a few of my very favorites here:

But Not the Hippopotamus: Possibly my favorite of all the Sandra Boynton books. "A bear and a hare have been to a fair. But not the hippopotamus.” It’s a subtle tale of overcoming shyness and uncertainty. It has a bit of a cliffhanger ending, which I won’t spoil, but I will say that Boynton does find a rhyme for “hippopotamus”.

Blue Hat, Green Hat: “Blue hat, green hat, red hat. Oops!” The inevitable “oops” as a turkey tries and generally fails to dress himself correctly has left many a toddler giggling wildly. Blue Hat, Green Hat is a wonderful book that helps children learn their colors as well as how to get dressed. The simple structure of the book will allow your children to read it to themselves even before they can read (and yes, this exercise can help your child learn to read once they have the basic phonics down).

Hippos Go Berserk: Okay, I admit it: I really like Boynton’s hippos. This book, a counting from 1 to 9 and 9 to 1 again, features forty-five hippos, so I love it. What happens when “one hippos, all alone, calls two hippos on the phone”? A party, of course! And hippos going berserk.

Other “Boynton Classics.” (There are more, many more, but these are the ones I can vouch for and have been able to find easily.)

The Sandra Boynton books page at Amazon.

Read more of Sarah's reviews.

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