Look no further this Christmas than this wonderful picture book for young children ages 4 to 8 years.

The idea for the original “Hippopotamus on our roof eating cake” book, which started the series off in 1981 famously came about when the author's 4-year-old son commented about some workmen on the roof fixing a leak. The little boy remarked to his parents: 

Oh that's the hippopotamus up there – he's eating cake!”

In Ho Ho Ho! a wobbly Christmas tree accident is fixed by our friendly resident Hippo, who adds donuts to the Christmas tree, works carefully on his list for Santa, ices his Christmas cake in multiple layers, and then is seen in various jolly ways throughout the story celebrating Christmas with the children. 

Hippopotamus is smart enough to fix a broken star on the tree,  joins in singing Carols by Cakelight, and helpfully watches out for Santa when the little boy's eyes won't stay open any longer.

Beautiful illustrations by Deborah Niland and a lovely glittery hippo on the front cover make this a lovely gift idea. This book is perfect for a short read aloud before bedtime or for storytelling in larger groups. The longevity of the series has been attributed to the fact that the hippo is a reassuring imaginary figure.

An enthusiastic reading ambassador, author Hazel Edwards has published over 200 books and has been writing and publishing since she was 27 years of age. Since 1981 the original book: ”There's a Hippopotamus on our roof eating cake” has been reprinted annually, inspired classroom play scripts, stage productions and a short movie. It has been translated into Braille and Auslan signing for the hearing impaired. It has even been presented as an official Australian government gift to the children of Princess Mary of Denmark. It is no exaggeration to say that the hippopotamus on the roof series of books is now a permanent fixture in most Australian children’s families.

This book is available through Penguin Books Australia.

Jane Fagan is a children's librarian with a B.A. (University of Melbourne) and a Grad. Dip. Library and Info Studies (Melbourne).