Rhyme Stones for Kids – Oakville News

Now, if you’re like a lot of us

and think a hippopotamus

would never make a lot of fuss,

well, then you would be wrong.

I saw two hippopotamuses

when they were peeking water-high.

One hippo seemed a friendly guy,

but not for very long!

He twitched his hippopota-ear

and started swimming very near.

He said, “Hey Bud! Come over here! ”

I tried to run away.

He chased me with his hippo-feet.

And then he dragged me by the seat

right back into the bay.

Pete swam the hippopota-stroke.

He held me in a hippo-choke.

I gave his meaty ribs a poke.

He made a grunting noise.

That’s when Pete’s hippopota-pal

said, “Hiya Bud! My name is Sal.

I’m just a hungry hippo-gal.

And I eat little boys! ”

She flicked her hippopota-tail

and saw my face was rather pale.

Sal’s hippopota-breath was stale.

She licked me on the nose.

I said, “You’re hippo-fooling me.

I know you don’t eat meat you see. ”

“You’re right dear boy,” she said with a glee.

“But I could eat your clothes!”

They grinned those hippopota-smiles.

Their hippo-laughs were heard for miles.

But then we spotted crocodiles.

They looked like floating logs.

Pete acted like a hippo-ham.

He honked and wheezed, but Sal yelled, “Scram!”

And then we kind of gallop-swam,

like hippo-jumping frogs.

I rode to shore on hippo-Pete.

The hippopota-ride was neat.

But I kept sliding off my seat,

just like a rodeo.

When we were safe on hippo-land,

their hippo-tears dropped in the sand.

They both said, “Bud, you understand

we have no place to go. ”

I looked into Pete’s hippo-eyes.

I listened to Sal’s hippo-sighs.

And I said, “Hey, don’t worry, guys,

I live right over there. ”

They hippopota’d to my room.

Pete said, “There’s not much hippo-room.”

And then I heard an awful BOOM!

Sal flattened out my chair.

All night, their four-toed hippo-feet

danced to the hippopota-beat.

I fed them everything but meat.

Their breath made such a stink!

They sloshed their hippopota-tea.

I hosed them down all night till three.

My room was a catastrophe!

I didn’t sleep a wink.

Those hippos partied-on till dawn.

Oh how I wished those guys were gone.

Pete threw my bed out on the lawn

to make room on the floor.

My tub was full of hippo-juice.

They always had a good excuse.

How could I set those hippos loose?

I hollered out, “NO MORE!”

I said, “You hippopotami

are bugging me. Now say good-bye! ”

“We like it here,” I heard them cry.

That’s when I called the ZOO!

They jumped up with a hippo-thud.

Pete said, “So long. We’ll see you Bud.

We’re off to roll in hippo-mud

and find a better view! ”

Now what a hippopota-mess!

My room was full of watercress.

They left a sweaty pinkish-mess

on everything I own.

So if you see those hippo-guys,

don’t look into their hippo-eyes.

They’ll call you Bud, but if you’re wise

You won’t invite them home!

An Interview with Pete and Sal

1. How big are you?

Pete: I guess I’m about the size of an average car. But I weigh more than three cars put together. We hippos often have vicious fights with other creatures and with each other. We have big tusk-teeth too. It’s no wonder we scared poor Bud.

2. What do hippos like to eat?

Sal: We’re all vegetarians and love to eat plants and grassy stuff. I eat about 300 pounds (140 kilograms) of food everyday. That’s almost 150 boxes of kids’ cereal. But then it rots in my stomach and gives me a very bad breath. Burp!

3. How big is your mouth?

Pete: I have about 40 big hippo-teeth. They’re made of ivory, just like elephant tusks. I can open my mouth really wide. You could probably stand up in it!

4. Are you afraid of crocodiles?

Sal: No, we’re much bigger than crocodiles. They know better than to bother us. But Pete and I were afraid they might eat Bud. We got out of there fast! We hippos gallop when we swim. Bud really liked riding on Pete’s back, just like baby hippos do.

5. Why did you drag Bud into the water in the first place?

Pete: Oh, we were just hippo-ing around. Sal and I were having a boring day and looking for something to do. We liked Bud but hippos don’t usually want humans to come near us. Hippopota-rumor has it that we’re one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. I’m glad Bud met us on a good-mood day, aren’t you?

6. What is the weirdest thing about hippos?

Sal: Well, one really cool thing is that our sweat is pinkish-red. So sometimes it looks like we’re sweating blood. We splashed a lot of sweat around Bud’s room. It made everything look pink. I don’t think Bud liked pink! He said his room was a real mess. A “catastrophe” he called it.

7. How long have hippos been around?

Pete: Would you believe over five million years? Well, not me personally. But did you know that crocodiles have outlived the dinosaurs? Crocodiles have been around for over 70 million years. They’ve hardly changed at all. They’re so cranky!

8. Do hippos like being in the water all the time?

Sal: We sure do! Our eyes and ears are on the top of our heads. That way, we can stay under the water with just our eyes sticking out and still see everything. That’s how Pete spotted Bud. We can also sink down and run underwater on the bottom of the river. Pretty neat huh?

9. Why were you honking and wheezing when you saw the crocodiles?

Pete: I did that to scare them away. I can also grunt and bellow really loud. Sometimes I yawn a lot with my big hippo-mouth. That works to frighten everybody too.

10. What does “hippopotamus” mean?

Sal: It means “river horse.” But then again, hippos are closely related to the pig family. Maybe we should be called “river pigs.” And, oh yes, we’re also related to camels and giraffes. So does that make us “river camels” or “river giraffes” too? Hmm.

This excerpt is one of six story poems from What a Hippopota-Mess! by Pat Skene.

ã Orca Book Publishers, 2006, printed with permission

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