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*Veronica* by Roger Duvoisin

Also illustrated by Roger Duvoisin:

The Happy Lion Roars

by Roger Duvoisin
Ages 4-8 40 pages Knopf January 2006 Hardcover    

Larger than life, Veronica is a hippo who simply refuses to be ignored. Of course, it’s hard to convince anyone of this when she is surrounded by all the other hippopotamuses that live on the riverbank - mothers, fathers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, all floating along, blending into one another.

Walking away from everything familiar one day, Veronica determines to make her mark on the world. A long and lonely trek takes her to the edge of a city teeming with automobiles and people, noise everywhere, horns honking, loud voices. But, best of all, “there was not another hippopotamus anywhere.”

Unfortunately, Veronica is used to life on the muddy river bank and unprepared for the problems of the city: the crowds, the traffic, the noise, nowhere to rest, nothing to eat at hand. Everywhere Veronica goes, trouble follows, people angry, shouting because she is in the way, holding up traffic, and causing any number of problems for busy city dwellers. A policeman even orders her to get out of the way and behave like a proper city person.

Sadly, Veronica’s great adventure goes awry in spite of her best intentions. She is pushed and pulled into jail, a small building much too tiny for her huge body. Fortunately, a kindly elderly lady comes to Veronica’s rescue, understanding the impossible predicament. The lady realizes that Veronica is ready to return home, having had her fill of city life.

Hiring a moving van, the lady has Veronica transported home where she is welcomed heartily, for Veronica has been missed. Now famous for her adventures, the weary hippo is content to be among family and friends, captivating them each evening with her wild tales of the city.

The yearning to be special catapults Veronica into an unfamiliar and unfriendly world where she learns the value of belonging and that it’s always alright to go home, her memories a source of entertainment for them all.

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  Luan Gaines/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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