On January 24, 2017, Fiona the Hippo was born at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden. The first Nile Hippo to be born at the zoo in 75 years, Fiona arrived six weeks premature and weighed only 29 pounds. That's about 25 pounds lighter than the smallest Nile Hippo on record! Little Fiona faced many challenges, but with the dedicated, around-the-clock care of zoo staff and the assistance of medical staff from Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Fiona thrived! And now she will be turning 5 years old!
Fiona's story caught the attention of the world and she became a bit of a celebrity, which led to her being the star of a series of books illustrated by Richard Cowdrey :
In one of the newest Fiona stories, Fiona Helps a Friend, the adorable little hippo goes visiting her animal friends around the zoo, and as she does, she notices the zoo is rather quiet. She realizes she hasn’t heard Matilda the Kookaburra’s laughter all day, a fact that Fiona finds quite concerning. After learning that Matilda has been feeling a bit blue, Fiona knows just what she needs to do. In true Fiona fashion, with all her animal friends in tow, the plucky little hippo sets out to cheer Matilda up, but even their silliest antics and funniest moves don’t make the kookaburra even crack a smile. It seems Matilda has lost her laugh! Fiona and the other animals are determined to help their friend. A search throughout the zoo yields nothing, until they stumble upon a Lost and Found box and an impromptu dress up party commences, giving the spunky hippo an idea of how they can help their dear friend find her laugh. Longtime fans of Fiona the Hippo and new will not be disappointed with this story about the importance of friendship and helping others and the power of laughter.
*You can see Thane Maynard, Director of the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, reading Fiona Helps a Friend to Fiona the Hippo herself in this YouTube video.
And then you can get all the facts about Fiona's miraculous story of perseverance and survival in Maynard's book, Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo.
Fiona's spunky, positive attitude is inspiring and contagious and makes for a memorable, engaging storytime! After reading about Fiona, consider planning a family trip to go see her in the flesh in Hippo Cove at the Cincinnati Zoo. You won't regret it!
-Kate @ BTBL
We are three generations that seek a way to get back to basics. It’s not that we eschew technology, but sometimes simpler is better, especially in raising our children. Mom was a reading teacher, Amanda is an early childhood educator and Kate a children’s literature specialist and former school librarian along with the latest additions, a daughter (now 6) for Kate, and two sons (now 4 and 2) for Amanda. We advocate reading aloud, the simple toys that use imagination and encourage creativity and learning in the kitchen, which can be a fun mess but also teaches life skills. Join us in raising healthy, happy, inquisitive and intelligent children.
We are mom Sandra and daughters Amanda and Kate, all with backgrounds in literacy and education, who want to share our philosophy of taking the basics of life; books, simple toys that encourage play, imagination and creativity, and using cooking and baking to teach math and real life skills to raise happy, inquisitive children. Join us in exploring the old and the new and sifting through the myriad of research to consider what is best for our children.