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Hilda Must Be Dancing

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When Hilda Hippo dances, the other jungle animals cringe. For "while she danced in utter bliss,/ it sounded quite a lot like this:/ "Ka-bump! Ka-bump!/ Crash! Crash! Smash!" The earth shakes, she tramples plants and kicks up clouds of dust. The animals suggest Hilda try knitting or singing instead, but it's not until the water buffalo recommends swimming that Hilda proclaims, "Now, here's a hobby/ I adore.../ Water ballet dancing!" Although Hilda wears plenty of extravagant dance costumes, Wilson's (Bear Snores On) descriptions sometimes strain: "While Hilda danced flamenco/ in her favorite pair of heels,/ bananas fell in gooey heaps,/ shaken from their peels!" Watts's illustrations create a fantasy jungle full of bright flowers and cartoon animals, but Hilda's pink Homer Simpson-style muzzle maintains an almost uniform expression. The ending scene of Hilda performing water ballet ("Swisha-swisha clap! Clap!") provides a satisfying solution for all-readers and fellow jungle inhabitants alike. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

PreS-Gr 2-Not since Disney's Fantasia has there been a hippo with so much rhythm and movement. Oblivious to the effects of her heavy footfalls, Hilda dances her way through this picture book, tearing up the jungle and having a grand time. While her frustrated neighbors wish she would find an activity a little less jarring, the creature just can't seem to stop. After brief forays into knitting and singing, Hilda and the animals finally come up with a clever compromise. Watts illustrates this cartoon jungle with a palette of vibrant tropical colors and creates bold and humorous images that further energize an already active text. Told in rhyme with plenty of onomatopoeia, this delightfully noisy story is nonstop fun.-Julie Roach, Malden Public Library, MA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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