Claire Reviews! – ‘Chocolate Chippo Hippo’ – Tuesday’s Look at THIS Book


* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room…

Today’s great book: Chocolate Chippo Hippo written by Vincent Andriani (1994, Scholastic)

Time to Read: about 45 seconds, laughter goes on for at least another 10!

Best Quote from the Book:  “Crunch Crunch”

Our View:  Chocolate Chippo Hippo captures the true essence of a children’s book.  This short, but very sweet, story tells of Ed the Hippo.  He loves, loves, loves to eat chocolate chip cookies.  He loves them so much that he has a pair of chocolate chip cookie sunglasses, a chocolate chip cookies suit, and even works in a factory where he gets to bake them every day!  He then goes home where he eats more cookies and goes to sleep, only to dream about them more.  So what makes this story so intriguing to me and my little sister, you ask?  The only true explanation I can think of is simply because it is so silly that it is just laugh-out-loud funny!  To tell you the truth, we read this book nearly every night.  I really couldn’t tell you why, other than I guess it is just one of those books that magically puts a smile on your face from the moment you pick it up.  I definitely recommend this book to everyone – for it is one book that will put you in the greatest of moods (and maybe even leave you craving a chocolate chip cookie!).


‘Thank-Full’ Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. His backstory can be found here.  Enjoy!

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Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn and painting his bedroom…but he did not like to wake up happy.  Here is his story:

It was early- too early for a little iguana to be awake – but the aroma from the kitchen was too good to sleep through. Baby Frederico lay there in his Battlestar Galactica sleeping bag (which he always preferred over the scratchy flannel sheets that his Momma Mia put on his bed in the wintertime) and tried to guess what his senses were telling him.

There was the smell of turkey…and bread dough…and something chocolate…and coffee.  There was the sound of a mixer…and music…and someone talking…and a timer ticking.

He began to think about all the things that were good about this particular holiday – family and friends and food and music and cold weather and piles of leaves to jump in.  There were also those wonderful smells and exciting sounds.  There were books to read and shows to watch and hiking in the forest behind his house and telling stories…and no school or homework.

By the time Baby Frederico climbed out of his sleeping bag that morning,he was brimming with happiness.  In fact, he was smiling so big when he came down the stairs to greet his family that Momma Mia said with surprise, “Baby Frederico, are you alright?  You are smiling from ear to ear, and it’s still early.  You never smile in the morning.”

And that is when Baby Frederico realized what Thanksgiving meant.  He was thank-full and he knew why.

‘Glad & Hope-y’ Thursday Stories with Baby Frederico

*Every Thursday we introduce you to another quick bedtime story about our family’s favorite resident reptile – Baby Frederico. The backstory can be found here. Enjoy!

Glad and Hopey Photo BF

Baby Frederico loves his Momma Mia and Papá Frita, his buddy Grenelda the Grasshopper, blue crayons, popcorn…and butterscotch pudding shakes; but he did not like to do things that he did not like to do. Here is his story:

Baby Frederico had already decided this was not going to be his favorite day. Why did his Mama Mia have to schedule all the worst things ever for the exact same day? First it would be an orthodontist appointment, then grocery shopping, a stop at the gas station and a run through the car wash (which kind of scared him, but don’t tell anyone), and finally home to do his chores and probably have to eat a plate full of peas and green beans for dinner (not his favorite vegetables by the way).

Mama could tell that Baby Frederico was not too happy about their plans for the day and wondered how to help.

“I have an idea,” she said. “Let’s make up a song about how much WE dislike all the things WE have to do today!”

This surprised Baby Frederico because he had always assumed that his Mama Mia loved making appointments for him to see the orthodontist, buying groceries and gasoline and car washes, doing chores, and eating mushy vegetables. Now he realized he might have been wrong!

He liked to sing and Mama loved to make up words to songs, so he agreed to her unusual plan.

“Great,” said Mama. “I’ll make up the words and you make up the tune!”

On that day, Baby Frederico learned how to truly sing his blues away. He and his musical Mama made up silly song after silly song.

But it was the end of every song that Baby Frederico loved best. It went like this: ‘Don’t be sad and mopey; just be glad and hope-y!’ Neither Mama nor Baby Frederico could say those words without smiling. And smiling changes everything.

So next time you feel down or mad or angry or sleepy or frustrated, shout it out at the top of your lungs: don’t be sad and mopey, just be glad and hope-y!

The 3-Hour Bookstore

3 Hour

Obviously, we like books. The name of the website makes that pretty clear. Our houseful of books that extend two and three deep along the hallway to our bedrooms makes it more clear. The kids’ secret bookroom built into the eve of the house makes it really clear. The books in the bathroom, on the kitchen table, under the bed, beside the chair, and sometimes even outside on the porch make it abundantly clear. We like books.

And that also means that we like homes for books – places like bookstores and libraries. More precisely, we love bookstores and libraries. If you were to go through our family photo albums of recent years you would see some particularly peculiar pictures mixed in with the normal shots of holiday events and family gatherings and music programs and goofy iphone pics taken for no definable reason at all. The peculiar photos would be of bookstores.

The girls and I started this adventure of trying to find bookstores in whatever town we were visiting on short Saturday trips around town or longer extended vacations out of town. We have found many and all have been an adventure.

I remember one that we found in a small town in west Texas that was painted entirely in pink, both inside and out, and was downright scary. It smelled of about a thousand cats and its tables and bookshelves were so packed that you had to dig through the rubble of books just to see what was there. It was a place that worried us and intrigued us all at the same time. As booklovers, we couldn’t help ourselves as we looked through this crazy place to see if a treasure was waiting for us. I’m sure we bought a book or two there, because we nearly always do.

The other night, my 13-year old and I spent three hours in a bookstore. Three hours was not the plan, but when we found each other in the children’s section at the back of the store and I looked at my watch, it had been three hours! We were both shocked and thrilled and wondered how it could be that a place would keep us that occupied for that long.

I think the most logical reason for it can be found in a quote by Augustine Birrell, who said, “An ordinary man can…surround himself with two thousand books and thence forward have at least one place in the world in which it is possible to be happy.”

Three hours or two thousand books…either way, we’re happy.