cover image A PERFECT NAME


Karma Wilson, Charlene Costanzo, , illus. by LeUyen Pham. . Dial, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8037-2614-7

Mama and Papa Hippo have a baby daughter who is lively, graceful, friendly and talented—to name just a few of her winning qualities. But they can't keep calling her "Little One" forever. What name could possibly sum up her infinite variety? And will they hit on one by the time of the traditional jungle naming ceremony? As readers follow the deliberations, they can relish Pham's (Can You Do This, Old Badger?) nostalgic watercolors. Handsomely clothed Mama and Papa exude love with every inch of their considerable girth and, like all their jungle neighbors, they're endowed with big, tender brown eyes and heartwarming smiles. As for Little One, she's cuteness personified, with a plump pink belly and a repertoire of endearing expressions. Costanzo's (The Twelve Gifts of Birth) ending comes as something of a letdown: Little One is named Dorena Cordula (a combination of "gift from the heavens" and "a jewel in the water"); readers may have expected something more clever or a name that somehow embodies all the hippo's virtues. Even so, the story opens the door to discussion of a perennially popular subject, the choice of a child's own name. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)