Sharko and Hippo by Elliott Kalan

Fans of Frog and Toad, Elephant and Piggie, Leonardo and Sam, and so many more, rejoice! Elliott Kalan and Andrea Tsurumi (author/illustrator of one of my all-time favorites, Accident) have teamed up to bring us Sharko and Hippo… And I think you’re going to love them!

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Meet Sharko, a shark, and his best friend, Hippo, “called Hippo, because Hippo is a Hippo.” As Sharko himself admits, he does the talking, and Hippo does the carrying. Sharko talks. A lot. And Hippo carries… A lot. But Hippo never seems able to connect the dots and do what Sharko asks (or orders) him to do.

And that’s what makes my girls crack up every single time we read this (and we’ve read it a lot since Harper Kids sent it our way. Many thanks to Harper Kids for sharing this book with our family in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions of this book are my own.). Because Hippo comes so close to getting it right, but just doesn’t. When Sharko asks for a boat, Hippo gives him a goat, a bag of oats, and a coat. These linguistic mishaps fill the book and are bound to make both children and adults taught (and, give adults plenty of opportunity to talk phonics, rhymes, and so on). My personal favorite — when Sharko asks for the keys to the car, he receives cheese from a star, bees on a guitar, and a sneeze in a jar!

But, when Sharko asks for the one thing he really, truly NEEDS, Hippo responds as only a best friend can.

Lest you think Sharko walks all over Hippo and doesn’t give him the chance to have a voice, think again… Stick with this one until the end and you’ll see just how powerful Hippo’s voice actually is!

As always, Tsurumi’s illustrations almost make the story. Be sure to follow the secondary journey of everything that Hippo tosses into the water throughout the book!

Who is your favorite “odd couple” literary duo?

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