Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The First Hippo on the Moon (2*)

I had VERY high hopes for this book. My students adore David Walliams novels (Gangsta Granny, The Boy in the Dress ... ) so I thought I was on to a winner when I got this picture book. I really wish I'd read some of the other reviews before I purchased it as I probably would have steered clear. 

The illustrations by Tony Ross are great, but what's that old saying? Don't judge a book by its cover. I should have paid more attention to that. The illustrations are really the only thing that holds this book together. 

The story: 

Two hippos dream of going to the moon. One hippo, Hercules Waldorf-Franklin III is rich, and builds his own Hippo Space Centre, while the other, Sheila, has to make do with building hers from whatever material she and her friends can find. They both blast off to the moon but Sheila hits an asteriod and comes crashing down hitting the surface of the moon just before Hercules can set foot on it. They then argue about who is the first hippo on the moon. Sheila trudges off upset, nicks Hercules's rocket (by accident apparently), and crashes it because she doesn't know how to fly it. She hits the earth and lays motionless until she farts loudly and wakes herself up. She then celebrates with her friends that SHE was the first hippo on the moon, and never mentions that actually Hercules got there first. Hercules is left on the moon with no way to get home.

I mean, what?! Seriously. So Sheila leaves him there and then lies about being the first hippo on the moon. I know not every story should have a moral or a specific point but seriously what kind of message does any of this send! I applaud Sheila's determination to make her dream happen but that's pretty much the only good thing about the story. The rest is just awful.  

The two stars I give this book are for the illustrations alone. Without them it would be just completely awful. 

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