I’m pleased to be contributing this review to the Small Fry Safari Readers Challenge 2014, hosted by The Bookshelf Gargoyle, specifically under the category “A book with something related to safari in the title”. Click HERE for more information.
About the Book
Title: A Different Kind of Safari | Author: Helen C. Hipp | Publication Date: March 19, 2013 | Publisher: A Different Kind of Safari LLC | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 5 to 10
Summary: What do you need to feel happy about being different? Based loosely on real life experiences, this heartwarming and powerful book illustrates how self-awareness, and courage help a young boy named Raymond learn the difference between seeing things as they appear to be and seeing things as they are. Feeling “different and lonely” Raymond befriends a hippo while on Safari in Africa. Unlike other grey hippos, this hippo is pink. Ray is soon carried into a world beyond labels and challenging assumptions. You will never guess what happens next!
The Inspiration Behind the Story by Helen Hipp
Inspired by real-life adventure, the story behind the story unfolded when I went on an African safari back in 2001. The trip was led by my father whose dream was to share the safari experience with his family. Little did I know that this trip was going to incite me to write a children’s adventure book but it did.
The storyline made it appearance when my family spotted a pod of hippos and one was pink! My son Ray fourteen at the time immediately named her “Rosie”. Curious and wanting to learn more about this hippo we asked the guide many questions about hippos and hippo behavior. Specifically I wanted to know why the pink hippo stood so far outside of her pod. The familiarity of the guides answer took me by surprise, he explained that “Rosie” was tolerated but not necessarily accepted by the herd because of her differences. As a parent of a child with special needs I immediately felt a strong affiliation with Rosie’s situation as did my son Ray who has experienced his own challenges with acceptance. Inspired, I decided to share the story with the world by weaving them into a children’s adventure book that celebrates differences. The book is entitled “A Different Kind of Safari”. Find out what you can learn from Rosie the pink hippo, and how you can share those lessons with the children in your life.
My Thoughts: Inspired by real events, A Different Kind of Safaritakes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance through the eyes of a young boy (Ray) on an African safari who meets a pink hippo named Rosie. Rosie is unlike any hippo Ray has ever seen. Aside from her different color, Rosie is able to speak to Ray and to teach him valuable life lessons about accepting one’s differences. The reader learns that Ray is also different from other children his age. He finds talking to other people difficult and prefers to be by himself.
Rosie takes Ray on a ride down the Mara River where he learns, literally, to “go with the flow” and where he meets up with a wise old crocodile, TLC (the Tender Loving Crocodile). TLC shares the legend of Eli-zee, the first zebra whose story teaches Ray the importance of knowing what we fear and why we fear it so we can learn to be happy with ourselves regardless of how we perceive our differences from others. This message is close to the lessons I try to teach my own children about the dangers of fear. The underlying messages in this book are so important and I love the “story within the story” approach and seeing how the main character, Ray, ponders the meaning of the story and integrates it into his own experiences and feelings.
The book features several colored illustrations which go very well with the accompanying text. I thought they were very well-done and were in a style appropriate to the text (I believe they are done with colored pencils). The text is quite lengthy for a book with this number of illustrations and with no chapters, but I think it would work well as a read-aloud book for older children either in a classroom setting or for homeschoolers as well as a bedtime book. There are several layers to this book as well as significant depth in the underlying messages and lessons. There are many potential points for discussion including Asperger’s syndrome, fear, self-acceptance, tolerance, and more. I highly recommend this great book to children ages 5 to 10.
* I received this book free-of-charge from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion services.
The Buzz About the Book
“A timeless book, that will speak to everyone. To be enjoyed over and over again! A fun, yet very thought provoking story for all ages. If books had a satisfaction guarantee, this one would be on the top of the list. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Adden B. Chrystie, Amazon
“A Different Kind of Safari is truly a different kind of children’s book! The beautiful artwork bring a very special story to life and I am excited the book is now available in audio format for an added bonus while driving kids around town! I particularly love the message of the book, which teaches us to celebrate our unique differences through Rosie the Pink Hippo rather than allow them to keep us from exploring our potentials. I highly recommend this book to all parents and special needs educators in particular. Thank you for writing this wonderful story!” ~ 5 Star Review, missladyjane, Barnes and Noble
“I really enjoyed this book. The illustrations were beautiful. I found this book to be very interesting and it was written from real life experiences. A Different Kind of Safari draws you in along with Ray on his journey to find his happiness and the answers to his questions. I recommend this book to children that are of grade school age but yet many younger children may enjoy the illustrations.” ~ 5 Star Review, Whittle House, Goodreads
“The book has a great story. The illustrations are amazing!!!!! Get this book! All children from the young to the old will love this book. ” ~ 5 Star Review, Mel, Amazon
“A Different Kind of Safari is not only a good book, but a great story! It is not only for caregivers, teachers and parents, but for anyone who has ever felt out of place. A pink hippo named “Rosie” and her friend “Ray” take a journey and explore their similarities and differences on the river of life. Self- acceptance and the acceptance of others is exquisitely conveyed in a fresh, FUN way through this sweet tail. It is a prize for all libraries!” ~ 5 Star Review, Anna Wood, Barnes and Noble
Amazon (Hardcover) | Audible (Audiobook) | Barnes and Noble
About the Author: Helen C. Hipp
Helen Hipp’s experience raising a special needs child led her to an M.A. in clinical psychology and certification as a life coach. She began her career as a psychotherapist to help people find answers for their life problems. Her work eventually evolved into a coaching practice, WithinU Life Coaching, focusing on individuals with special needs and their families. Helen uses her 13+ years of counseling experience and 20+ years’ experience as a successful advocate for individuals with special needs by helping them reveal their innate ability to solve difficult situations. Her debut book ” A Different Kind of Safari” puts into words the essence of Helen’s teachings addressing the many questions life asks by offering up lighthearted, ever-changing perspectives that transform personal challenges into opportunities.
For more information, visit the books official website and to see a picture of the real Rosie the real life pink hippo that inspired this story, go to www.adifferentkindofsafari.com
* Book Blast Giveaway *
Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest ends: August 6, 11:59 pm, 2014
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Helen Hipp and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.