When I Woke Up, I Was a Hippopotamus {Review and Giveaway}

by 5 Minutes for Books

When I Woke Up I Was a Hippopotamus, written by Tom MacRae and illustrated by Ross Collins, is the charming story of a little boy who wakes up one morning feeling like a big hippopotamus who can hardly move and just doesn’t want to get out of bed. As the day goes on, he always seems to be a bit out of step with how he should be feeling in that moment, and each feeling is represented by a different animal or object.

This book is aimed at children 4 and up, and my son is almost 10, so you might wonder why I chose this book.** Well, the main reason is that it deals with identifying emotions, which is an area of difficulty for my son, who has high-functioning autism. Also, although he reads at a much higher level, he still enjoys picture books, especially at bedtime.

At first, I was disappointed because the concept of the boy seeing himself as a hippopotamus or a monkey was too abstract for Michael, even after we read the book a couple of times and talked about what was happening. He liked the illustrations and the rhyming text, but he was still confused by the idea that people weren’t actually seeing a robot or a rocket ship when they looked at the boy.

He did ask me to read him the book again the next day, however. Then he surprised me by coming to me later in the week and asking me if I remembered the “hippo book.” I said yes, and he proceeded to tell me that he had figured it out and that the different scenes were examples of metaphors. I asked, as I usually do in these situations, what that word meant, and he explained that a metaphor is “when you describe something by talking about something it is like.” They have apparently been learning about metaphors at school, and he remembered the book and realized that’s how the story was written.

So, in the end, this turned out to be a great choice for my son, helping him explore how different situations can make us feel, as well as reinforcing something he was learning at school. For those who aren’t in our unique situation, I think this would be an ideal book for any young child who is experiencing a lot of different emotions and isn’t sure how to respond when he or she is a bit out of sorts.

One thing I really loved about the book is how the boy’s mom and dad help him find a way to feel like himself again and to enjoy their activities together. It is so nice to see parents being shown giving direction and help to their kids and how that can turn a difficult day around.

**The 5 Minutes for Books team are happy to be a part of Scholastic’s Parent Circle. Each month, one of our reviewers will select a book from that month’s Scholastic Book Club flyers. I selected When I Woke Up I Was a Hippopotamus from March’s SeeSaw flyer.

We are happy to offer one of you a copy of this book (U.S. shipping only), as featured in the Scholastic book club flyer. Leave a comment to enter. We’ll announce the winner in our book column on March 12.

The winner of From Blah to Awe is #1 Zsa Zsa.

5 Minutes for Books staff book blogger Trish is glad her son still loves to cuddle up for a bedtime story. She blogs at In So Many Words.



Email Author    |    Website About 5 Minutes for Books

5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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{ 75 comments… read them below or add one }

1 beth February 27, 2012 at 1:04 am

this would be a great book to add to our nightly bedtime rotation!

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2 Eric February 27, 2012 at 4:28 am

I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen a book with similar cover on amazon recently.

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3 Theresa n February 27, 2012 at 7:36 am

I’d love to win this for my granddaughters.

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4 Garrett February 27, 2012 at 8:23 am

Good story to read to the little ones.

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5 Ashley Hatten February 27, 2012 at 8:29 am

Thanks for the chance to win! my son would like this book!

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6 Don February 27, 2012 at 9:00 am

Nice story for the family to read together.

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7 LT February 27, 2012 at 10:32 am

I think my children would really enjoy this!

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8 June February 27, 2012 at 10:42 am

So nice, could read this to the grandchildren.

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9 Kristie February 27, 2012 at 10:43 am

My daughter is 5 and has a hard time understanding why she feels a certain way at times…she’ll start crying and say “I don’t know why I’m crying”. It’d be nice to have a book to help her understand why she feels certain ways at times. Thank you for the chance to win! :-)

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10 Tara February 27, 2012 at 10:57 am

I’d love to win this for my kiddos!

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11 Jennie February 27, 2012 at 11:36 am

This looks like a fun, cute story.

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12 Nadia February 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm

My kids would enjoy this book.

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13 Lizzy February 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I would love to win this for my boys!

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14 Ruthie B February 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I would love to read this to my 5 year old grandson…thanks for the chance!

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15 Cindi February 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm

Great book cover! Our sons love to be read to; especially,
at bedtime. Many thanks for the opportunity to win this
lovely children’s book…
Cindi

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16 Van February 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm

What a cute story.

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17 Vilmarys February 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm

This sounds great! Thanks for the chance!

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18 Kofo B February 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

Sounds like a great book for kids. I really enjoyed reading your review. Shame I can’t enter the giveaway though. I’m based in the UK.

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19 Selena February 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm

My daughter would love this book!

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20 Liz February 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm

My daughter would like this. My son would think it was “silly” which is the word of the week at our house.

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21 Tammy February 27, 2012 at 9:18 pm

This would be a great book to add to my collection for my in home daycare. It is crazy sometimes with the things that come up with kids.

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22 Jenn February 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

My little ones would enjoy this story, thanks for a chance to win it!

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23 Barbara Manatee February 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

I am a teacher and a Mom and a kids book addict! I probably have thousands of kids books in my house and classroom. I’d love to add this to the ‘collection!’ ha!

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24 samantha w February 27, 2012 at 10:42 pm

this would be a good book for my kids

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25 Kristi p February 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

This looks like a cute book.

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26 Kelly D February 28, 2012 at 12:56 am

My daughter would love this book…and so would I! Thank you for hosting!

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27 Anna February 28, 2012 at 4:46 am

Wow! the book seems to be very interesting and your experience is awesome. I am definitely gonna try this with my son too! thanks for sharing.

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28 Melissa February 28, 2012 at 7:21 am

This would be wonderful for my 4 yr old and my 2 yr old!

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29 Kathy Stevenson February 28, 2012 at 8:13 am

My girls would love this!

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30 Jeff February 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm

What child wouldn’t like this book!

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31 Maura February 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

I read to my son all the time. He would enjoy this.

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32 Shari February 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Would love to win this for my five year old nephew. He often doesn’t know how to control his emotions, letting them spill out all over. This might be a good book for him. :)

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33 amber whitehead February 28, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I would love to add this to our at home library. Thanks for the giveaway.

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34 Staci A February 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

I would love to read this with my little guys!

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35 Angela E. February 29, 2012 at 11:04 am

What a sweet little story.

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36 Beth C February 29, 2012 at 12:03 pm

I’d love to have this book for my grandkids when they visit.
pbclark(at)netins(dot)net

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37 Madelyn February 29, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I think my son would really enjoy this book!

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38 HappyMomC February 29, 2012 at 5:07 pm

would love this for my kids!

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39 Liz I. February 29, 2012 at 8:28 pm

would love to win this for my boys!

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40 mike baker February 29, 2012 at 8:40 pm

My kids would love this added to there nightly book routine.

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41 Natalia February 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm

Would like to win this book.

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42 John February 29, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Please enter me.

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43 Lorayne Gothard March 1, 2012 at 1:41 am

I love reading with my two girls. It is a wonderful bonding experience for us at night!!

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44 Wayne March 1, 2012 at 1:53 am

I would love to read this to my little princess!

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45 Daiva March 1, 2012 at 7:28 am

I would love it for my kids

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46 Anita Yancey March 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm

This book would be great for my granddaughter. She is 5 and loves to read. Please enter me. Thanks!

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47 Lauren Knott March 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I bet my son would love this book!

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48 Kelly Falcone March 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm

My daughter loves animals, and she cant get enough to read, so she would love this book!

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49 kristin D March 1, 2012 at 7:36 pm

I am sure Gracie would love this book!!

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50 Journeysof TheZoo March 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I’d love to win this! Thanks for the chance.

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51 Lori March 2, 2012 at 9:28 am

How nice, would like to win.

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52 Idaho Jill March 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I’m sure my daughter would love this book!

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53 Mia Dentice Carey
Twitter:
March 4, 2012 at 8:40 am

What a wonderful book! My son would enjoy this! =)

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54 Danielle T March 4, 2012 at 9:52 am

this looks like a cute story!!

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55 Kimberly March 4, 2012 at 11:31 am

This sounds like a fantastic book that would hold their interest.

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56 Julie R March 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

This book sounds like so much fun to read with my son!!

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57 Jennifer Morrison March 4, 2012 at 9:07 pm

Would love to add this to our children’s bedtime book rotation.

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58 Sara March 5, 2012 at 11:36 am

Always love new books!

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59 Mandy B March 5, 2012 at 3:13 pm

I would love to have a new story to read my son at night!

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60 lee March 5, 2012 at 5:50 pm

this book would be perfect for my child. thank you

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61 Alison S. March 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm

We’d love this book at our house. :)

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62 Janel blakely March 5, 2012 at 9:43 pm

Would love to add to our collection….

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63 julie rmr March 6, 2012 at 9:58 am

My kids would love this!

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64 kathleen March 8, 2012 at 12:04 pm

would love to win!

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65 ACMommy3 March 8, 2012 at 8:42 pm

we love books and this one looks great! :-) Thanks for the review!! creedamy [at] yahoo [dot] com

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66 nannypanpan March 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

would love this
nannypanpan@gmail.com

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67 jennifer dansberger jones March 8, 2012 at 10:51 pm

sounds like a great book.

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68 rachel0 March 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

what a cute book!

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69 Jeni Monroe March 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Thank you for such a cute giveaway. My 6 year old would love this book =)

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70 Erin Lawrence March 10, 2012 at 8:45 pm

Looks like a great book! Would love to read it to my daughters. Thanks!

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71 Brenda S. March 11, 2012 at 11:26 am

My boys would like this. Thanks for the chance!

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72 Lauren Ayer March 11, 2012 at 2:11 pm

I would love to read this book to my pre-k class! Thank you so much for the giveaway!

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73 Chuck March 11, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Cute little book.

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74 Corey Olomon March 12, 2012 at 4:25 am

This looks like a great children’s book.

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75 Kelly D March 12, 2012 at 7:30 am

My kids would like this.

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