How to Clean a Hippopotamus, by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $16
You probably know that clown fish can safely hide in sea anemones, but did you know that the relationship is exclusive -- that the clown fish will succumb if it swims into any anemone but the one it has adopted?
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This sophisticated picture book is full of fascinating snippets about symbiotic relationships in the animal world. The paper-collage art is as arresting as the brief text bites. Wisps of handmade paper give the faintly pink ostrich a fuzzy appeal, and the sturdy honey badger looks deceptively cuddly as it raids a beehive.
How to Clean a Hippopotamus (African helmet turtles do the job) would be a terrific addition to elementary and middle-school science libraries, and could nudge older readers into further investigation on this practical and endearing topic. Ages 9 and up.