Harry the Hippopotamus' Hair Hoopla
by Jade De Kelaita
Trafford Publishing

"He was realizing he did not need to be like anyone else around."

Harry, the Hippopotamus, dons an intriguing purple hat that he wears all the time. One day, however, he notices the multitude of hairdos others have and thinks, "That’s so fine." From Carol the crazy kitten and Mr. McNard, the German shepherd to Coozy, the lazy crab and Mancha, the monkey, Harry encounters a slew of animals that sport their own style of hair. Thinking that his own hat is not "cool" enough, Harry tries to be like the other animals: he tries on everything including, but not limited to dreadlocks, Mohawks, and the Jerry Curl.

Jade De Kelaita's use of animal characters, particularly Harry, to portray human emotion and perception is both interesting and entertaining. Throughout this children's book, readers will laugh with each of Harry's stylistic inventions. At the same time, the story is instrumental in conveying the importance of carving one's own identity. In the words of the beloved hippopotamus, "If I had to choose to be someone else, I'd rather be me instead!"

As Harry watches pelicans, the kitten, and other animals laugh at him, he can't comprehend why he is being belittled. Not until the end of the story does Harry finally realize that he doesn't need to imitate anyone else; he has his own style—one that others think is cool.

De Kelaita's tale is brimming with creativity, imagination, and a whole lot of learning lessons for elementary school children. Most importantly, children will find that each person is unique as they follow Harry the hippopotamus on all his adventures.

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