Synopsis: What do you need to feel happy about being different? Based loosely on real life experiences, this heartwarming and powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling "different and lonely" Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions. You will never guess what happens next!
Thoughts: This story is about a very different kind of safari,indeed. Ray is an introverted child who prefers to be on his own, and finds it difficult to talk to others. Thanks to Rosie the pink hippo and TLC the crocodile (TLC stands for Tender Loving Crocodile), and their story of Eli-zee the zebra,Ray learns that we should not judge others based on their appearance or our fears which may be based on stereotypes.
The illustrations are in rather muted colors, and match the accompanying text quite well. I would have preferred more illustrations to break up the text a little more, but it would be a good book for slightly older readers, or to be read aloud to younger children.
I can see using this to teach that everyone is unique, and that we should all be happy with ourselves just the way we are. It would open the door for questions and discussion.
My rating: Four stars