Author: Zev Lewinson

Illustrator: Debi Coules

Publisher: Swordpen

ISBN: 978-0-9799653-4-0


Having a dream or goal and really, really wanting to achieve it is a noble task. Sometimes making that dream come true does not happen as expected.  In Lev Lewinson’s The Hippo That Flew, the author writes about having hope and ambition.

This unnumbered but around forty pages, over-sized paperback book has a colorful drawing of a very happy hippopotamus on the front jacket. The back jacket has simply five short reviews. Illustrator Debi Coules does a good job depicting the detailed drawings, some which take up more than one page. Besides a short biography on both author and writer with childhood pictures, a copy of the original rough draft is included, handwritten and scribbled on two pages. The happy go lucky book is targeted toward preschool or younger and mentions what happens after death so may be hard for some children to comprehend.

This tome is about young Wilbur, a big blue eyed hippopotamus who is convinced that one day he will fly. As a young hippo, his family and friends scold and mock him for thinking that a big, heavy animal like himself could actually fly. But all Wilbur does is dream and wish about the day when he can soar in the sky.

One of his ideas is to make waxed feathers for wings. He straps them on and takes off but the hot sun melts the wax and he falls to the ground and lands on his cushy bottom. Not disappointed in his failure, he puts a huge sign up on the school blackboard that says “I will fly” but still his family and friends make fun of him.

As Wilbur gets older, he meets a beautiful hippo named Beverly and falls immediately in love with her. In no time, they marry and have three baby hippos. As the years pass and Wilbur still wants to fly, he grows old and gray, but still ponders about flight. When he dies and the Holy Hippo gives his eulogy, he says how Wilbur now has wings. In Heaven, the Voice comforts Wilbur by telling him he did succeed and now he can fly wherever he wants. Because of Wilbur’s vision and determination throughout his life, the Voice tells him he is “The Creator of Flight on Earth” and then joyously Wilbur takes off flying forever.

This story is innocuous to the point that it is positive about wanting to have dreams, goals and ambition, but it may be disconcerting to a young child that does not understand death, afterlife or Heaven.

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