A hippo to make you go “Hmmm…”

There’s no real reason for me to bring up this story, except that it made me laugh, and also I suppose there’s a lesson in here about genres and writers’ abilities (or lack thereof) to switch gears.

So here’s the deal: Danielle Steel is writing about a hippo:

HarperCollins Publishers announced today that it has acquired world rights to The Happiest Hippo in the World, a children’s picture book by international bestselling author Danielle Steel. The new book, by the author of 88 adult novels, including Honor Thyself, Sisters, and the “Max and Martha” series for children, tells the story of a baby hippo who happens to be born green instead of gray and learns with the help of a little boy to love himself despite being different. Both delightful and heartwarming, the book was written by Ms. Steel for her son Nicholas Traina when he was little and is expected to be published in Fall 2009. Illustrations will be by celebrated artist Margaret Spengler.

It all sounds very charming, and in fact Ms. Steel has already penned books for children (did you know that? I didn’t), so why does this news make me giggle madly?

All I can think is that maybe the happy hippo discovers that the gruff handyman has a heart of gold after all.

Or that maybe the happy hippo had sworn off love, only to be swept off his feet by a handsome stranger.

Or perhaps the happy hippo, in finding himself, discovers that everything he needed had been right under his nose all along!

(Why yes, I did read a fair amount of Danielle Steel when I was younger… why do you ask?)

I hope it’s a wonderful book. But I have to say, the very idea of handing a Danielle Steel book to kids just makes me twitch, ever so slightly. It feels wrong, you know? I can’t help it. (Oh! Do you think the cover will show the hippo with long, flowing hair, clutching at his bosom? I sure hope so.) (See? I can’t stop.)

[Hat tip to yesterday's Cynopsis for the scoop.]

Pssssst! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway contest we’re running this week!

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