But Not The Hippopotamus

Title: But Not the Hippopotamus

Author: Sandra Boynton

Description: A shy hippo watches other friends play, but doesn’t join in. Eventually the animal pack asks her to play, and even though she is nervous, she decides to join in on the fun.


  • Social Skills: Joining play and including others in play
  • Phonological Awareness
  • Speech Production /s/ final position,
  • Early Narrative/Retelling
  • Negation/Exclusion

Why I like this book: Great for discussion around joining others in play

Ideas for this book:

  • Great for discussion around joining others in play and/or including others in play. Great to pair with the “Joining Game” from our Social Adventures App. Help break down this skill for children and practice joining on going play.
  • Create thinking and speaking bubbles for the Hippo in the story. What is she thinking/feeling? Why?
  • Have kids role play what they would “say” to join others in play. How would they offer to include others? How could the hippo try and join?
  • A rhyming story. Have children fill in the rhyming word when reading. Can they generate other words that rhyme with the pair?
  • Lots of practice of /s/ in word final positions. Have children imitate the words as you read. If a reader, have them read the story.
  • Have children retell the story using temporal markers (first, next, then).
  • Have students create the “sequel” as the story ends with an Armadillo feeling shy. What could the next story be like? Have children draw the pictures, and try to write the next story. Can they make the story rhyme as well?
  • Good examples to teach “not” or “everything but” concepts around following directions.

Submitted by; Meghan G. Graham M.S. CCC-SLP

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