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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Everyone is different, even Bentley Hippo. Most hippos walk on four legs, but not Bentley; he walks on two and he wears sneakers. All his friends are different, too. There’s Jaxon the silly monkey who rattles on when he’s excited and really makes no sense at all. Then there’s Marty the lion who is a little darker than the other lions and he’s lost the hair on the end of his tail, making him look different. Then there’s Toby who wears glasses, Billy has curly hair, Julia is bald (no hair at all) and many others with all their unique differences. But there is one thing that is the same about them: they’re all Bentley’s friends and they’ve come together to celebrate his kindness and send him off on his dream of a lifetime – to the moon. The only thing is, the guard at the rocket’s gate is mean and will only let Bentley climb aboard the rocket because the others are too different. Bentley has his job cut out for him in setting this guard straight.
Argyro Graphy’s picture book story, The Adventures of Bentley Hippo: Inspiring Children to Accept Each Other, is a compassionate presentation of differences and children and how important it is for everyone, especially children, to accept others in spite of their differences. Bentley Hippo is the champion campaigner for anti-bullying, accepting others no matter how they look or behave, and always being kind. The plot follows Bentley’s excitement at the celebration his friends share to honor him, and his desire to accept the dream trip to the moon, but only if his friends, different as they all are, can come along too. Bentley speaks up on their behalf and even teaches an adult how to be accepting and kind to others. The bright, colorful illustrations help move the story along and, as the plot thickens and each character is adequately introduced with all their unique qualities, readers, young and old alike, will be chuckling along with all their antics. A sweet, charming story with a powerful message on acceptance and kindness.