Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

How to Clean a Hippopotamus: A Look at Unusual Animal Partnerships

Jenkins, Steve (Author/Illustrator)
Page, Robin (Author/Illustrator)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2013. 32 pages
First published: 2010
ISBN: 9780547994840 (paperback)
9780547245157 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 591.7
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

structures and features

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Relationships in which organisms help each other are symbiotic. We learn about some of the more common animal partnerships, such as the plover that picks bits of meat out of the crocodile’s teeth. Then there are the more subtle collaborations, like the different and complementary danger-detection systems of ostriches, zebras and wildebeest. The animals featured are largely indigenous to the African continent, but the book also notes symbiosis between badgers and coyotes, wolves and ravens, and even dogs and humans. There are also a number of fascinating marine and entomological examples.

The animal partnerships are illustrated in simple colour panels, with each frame containing a brief ecological, biological or symbiotic explanation, dynamically phrased. Thus, we learn, the Sally Lightfoot crab of the Galapagos Islands eats ticks that burrow on the marine iguana’s skin: “Soon this agile land crab is scrambling over the iguana’s body.”

The book concludes with a more thorough scientific yet accessible explanation of symbiosis, as well as a list of the animals featured in the book, including information about their size, diet and habitat.

  •  

    Browse the book, taking note of how the information is organized. Read the humorous section titles and see if you can predict the nature of each relationship based on the titles and illustrations.

  •  Use sticky notes or flags to annotate and point out interesting facts in the book for the next reader to enjoy.
  •  

    Write a dialogue between two of the animal pairs that reveals how they help each other.

  •  Explore the structures and features of this book. How can you find information? How is it organized?
  •  

    Discuss what you notice about the various animal relationships. Put your thoughts on paper using a mind map or other graphic organizer.

  •  

    In small groups, explore examples of how society involves symbiosis. Show your findings by using similar page layouts as well as words and expressions from the text.

  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Science and Technology