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Violet the Hippo book

Submitted by on August 18, 2010 – 7:06 pmNo Comment
I tried really hard to love this story. After all, books are wonderful aren’t they? Except when they’re trying to be a bit too clever.
Buy online at Amazon

Price £6.29 (RRP £8.99)

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Initial thoughts: Curling up with your children, whether it’s at bedtime or during a rainy afternoon, and losing yourselves in a pile of books is one of the not-to-be-missed treats of parenthood. Not only can you relive your own childhood but you also get to meet some new characters.

Like the miniature heroine Violet in Violet – A Very Special Hippo, (6+) by Annie Taylor. Violet has a talent for turning pink when scared, which is quite helpful in the jungle but not so much when spirited away to Hollywood, before being rescued by Reggie the Rhinoceros. The chapters were the perfect size to read to my four-year-old who I am just trying to introduce chapter books to.

We liked: Visually the book is a treat. It would make a perfect gift, as it’s hardback with glossy pages, thereby feeling a bit more special. The chapters are just the right size, small enough for just a couple if you’re doing the bedtime story but long enough for a new reader to tackle without being overwhelmed.
We weren’t keen on: The book looked amazing but it’s not really the most compelling story I’ve ever shared – my nine-year-old listened in and she wasn’t particularly won over, either. I think the problem is the book’s tendency to try and be a bit too clever.

Violet is found by a couple of hippos, one of whom was “wondering where her life was going and what was the true nature of the universe” apparently. There’s a hard to pronounce name, and vocabulary like “discombobulated”. While it’s great to stretch children, I think that might put off some six-year-olds who are reading it on their own.

Overall: This would probably make a wonderful gift, with it’s thick pages and beautiful illustrations. I do wish the author had made a bit more of Violet overcoming being different rather than the humour, which was lost a bit on my two.

Others may well like that (and it has got good reviews on Amazon). I guess the book’s a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you don’t.

[By Debbie W – Carrots and Kids]

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