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Anxious Hippo: A Children's Book About Dealing with Anxiety


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Young readers discover a practical way to mitigate anxiety through a tale of two friends on their first day of a new school year.

It is the first day of a new school year, and Anxious Hippo is not sure what to expect. When he sees how many more students are in his class than there were last year, his heart begins to pound and sweat coats his skin. Recess is a welcome reprieve, and Anxious Hippo shares his feelings with his friend Calm Hippo. Calm Hippo gives his friend some helpful guidance that helps Anxious Hippo feel better for the rest of the school day.

Emotions are an inescapable part of the human experience, but it can sometimes be difficult to put words to these feelings—especially for children. This book explains anxiety in a straightforward and accessible manner and provides a practical way to mitigate anxiety when it arises.

Written using short sentences, familiar vocabulary, and a blend of dialogue and narration, this story is well suited to young readers in either a one-on-one or a group setting. Whenever dialogue appears, it is colored to reflect the character who is speaking and remains consistent throughout the book. This helps emerging readers begin to recognize dialogue within stories and makes these phrases stand out visually. Although some lines of text are truncated in less than ideal places to accommodate the illustrations, the flow of this story is smooth and engaging.

Colorful, computer rendered illustrations support the text of this story and are equally straightforward in their presentation. Anthropomorphic hippos walk on two legs and wear clothing, and their individual coloring corresponds directly with the color of the dialogue they speak. Anxious Hippo’s discomfort is palpable through these images, and readers with anxiety will feel calmer just in knowing they are not alone in their feelings.

The “cool the pizza” strategy for finding calm in anxious moments that Calm Hippo recommends is one that can be utilized by children and adults alike. A powerful visual connection to pizza makes deep breathing easier for young people to understand and helps increase their emotional intelligence. At the end of this story, readers will find a coloring page of Anxious Hippo and Calm Hippo to help extend the learning that takes place while reading this tale. This is a highly recommended addition to story collections for young children.

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I review books for kids, tweens, and teens and blog about them on my website. To date, I have over 500 published reviews. Sign up for my monthly newsletter at to get recommendations straight to your inbox! I primarily write reviews, but will create video reviews upon request.


After a long summer vacation, it's time for Anxious Hippo to return to school. There, he discovers something unexpected that makes him feel very anxious. His best friend, Calm Hippo, knows the perfect solution to help Anxious Hippo overcome his fears.

About the author

My mission is to help children understand their emotions. Their future success in life depends on how well they are able to cope with their feelings in a healthy manner. The first step is to have an awareness of what exactly their emotions are, and then find the words to help describe them. view profile

Published on March 06, 2021

0-1000 words

Worked with a Reedsy professional 🏆

Genre: Picture Books

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