I love Jeanne Willis’s books! Hippospotamus, which unsurprisingly has illustrations by Tony Ross, is quite a mature picture book for small children.
You could easily take it at face value; that it’s about a Hippo who discovers a puzzling spot on her behind. Hippo goes round listening to the advice of her friends, who all ‘know’ what the spot is. Except it isn’t.
But if you happen to spot (sorry) the dedication, ‘may all our lumps and bumps be this benign’ the adult reader will start looking at the book in a different light. Because most of us have probably been there, in some form or other. The worry is real, and not just for laughs. Friends are good, but not always right.
‘Hippopotamus had a spotamus… on her bottomus.’
It’s wonderful. The rhymes are most poetic, and this would be a fun book to read out loud, as long as you don’t have a worrying spotamus on your body.