Book Review: Andy Cooper’s Harry the Hippopotamus, By Tilly Lander Williams

As regular readers know by now, I have a penchant for uplifting stories and anything to do with books. So when I heard that Devon Life’s Andy Cooper has written his first children’s story, I was curious to find out more.

Andy’s book is called Harry the Hippopotamus. He first penned the manuscript when he was 23, but it wasn’t until a few years ago, prompted by his granddaughter, that Andy decided to revive it.

We took Bonnie to the beach a couple of summers ago and she got bored in traffic on the way back. She said, I want a story, like children do. So, I resurrected Harry from memory…and she liked it.

Now the story is published in all its beauty, enhanced by the artistic hand of Leigh Jackson, a Devon-based illustrator. It is aimed at children aged 0-6.

Harry is a young hippopotamus with a big problem . . . he can’t say the word ‘hippopotamus’! So while Harry should be a happy hippopotamus, he’s harassed and full of heartache instead. No matter how hard he tries, he just cannot say that vital word. After running away from home in frustration, he soon finds himself confronted by lots of other animals who cannot believe how silly he seems. At every turn, Harry’s attempts to say ‘hippopotamus’ fail spectacularly. All seems lost for Harry until he confronts his problem one final time . . . with surprising results.

My daughters and I read the book at bedtime, and we all love it! Andy’s writing is engaging and original, and Leigh’s illustrations complement the story beautifully. My eldest described it as “a gentle read,” while the youngest said it made her feel happy and that her friends would like it too. (They have also asked for a sequel, so Andy, keep writing!)

Harry the Hippopotamus is available to order from The Bookery in Crediton by clicking here.

Local Writer and Editor Andy Cooper

About the Author, Tilly Lander Williams

Tilly’s Exeter story starts with an exhibition of The World of Beatrix Potter at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum in the early 90s. As a little girl, Exeter won her over there and then, especially with its proximity to the sea and moor. Tilly now lives in the countryside outskirts, with her husband, two daughters and their various animals. She can mostly be found writing or curled up with a book at home, or walking, swimming and exploring Devon with her family. Tilly loves attending literary events and keeping up to date with the latest books and writing news. She has recently written her first novel.

More articles by Tilly:

Exeter Library: an afternoon with Jill Mansell & Special Guests Libby Page and Emma Cooper.

Exeter Library opens its doors in the evening for Library Lates

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