This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (Goodreads, B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.
This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.
Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite
An unusually high degree of attentiveness is required when creating a children’s book, especially one directed at a very young child – a book like Harvey Hippo Invites a New Friend to Lunch by Lisa Sankar-Zhu. The skills required are more diverse than those needed for adult fiction. The author must provide the most concise narration possible, with no room for excess ornamentation, and she must provide (either on her own or in collaboration) a simple but complex visual presentation to accompany the words. The child must be able to understand immediately the facial expressions on all the characters – what they are thinking and feeling – and he or she must be able to relate. Finally, the author is challenged to present a child’s lesson clearly by example – using simple words and pictures – without becoming preachy. As if that were not enough, the truly great children’s book must make the child laugh at least once during the reading.
Lisa Sankar-Zhu succeeds admirably in Harvey Hippo Invites a New Friend to Lunch. As might be readily surmised, the story is about a young hippopotamus who invites a new friend to his house. His parents expect a girl hippo to appear, but the nature of the guest surprised even this old adult and made him laugh. To reveal it here would ruin the story. Suffice it to say the friend provided a challenge of acceptance for the parent hippos, and a lesson for any reader.
Ms. Sankar-Zhu hits all the necessary points to gain the reader’s interest: the characters and scenes are rendered masterfully, even including a memorable ceiling point-of-view, with the expressions of every character clearly defining mood and moment; the narrative has a changing rhythm that prevents the lulling cadence so often found today in children’s books, and she concludes her book on the kind of toddler cliff-hanger designed to keep the young reader’s mind enthusiastic and curious. And yes, the child is guaranteed to laugh.