There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake
32pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
What do you do when there is a hippopotamus on your roof eating cake? Well, you keep calm and carry on, of course. It doesn’t matter whether its drawing with crayons, having a shower or wearing a bandage on its knee just like yours, there’s nothing outlandish or outrageous about having a hippopotamus on your roof.
When Dad notices that there’s a hole in the roof, his imaginative daughter decides that there is a hippopotamus up above eating cake that’s causing it. and even though it works part-time at the zoo it always returns to share the adventures she has had that day, even when she’s been in bother. Eventually men fix the leaking roof, but they don’t see it because it clambers down the ladder when they are not looking, but the little girl is convinced the hippopotamus will be back that night. In fact, it is likely it will be on the roof or accompanying her on adventures all through her childhood.
When this was first published in 1980, it became such a favourite that it has been published continuously for 40 years and has evolved into a series of seven picture books, and inspired a young readers’ novel, classroom play scripts, a musical production for the stage and a short movie, as well as having been translated into Auslan and Braille. There would be few children who have not been exposed to the story in one format or another.
With its rhythmic, repetitive text and simple line drawings depicting the hippo as a friendly fellow, the appeal of this book and it premise of imaginary friends has been tested over time and this special anniversary edition has a special cover to make it a collector’s edition while also revitalising the character for another generation.