The Hippo at the End of the Hall

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Member Reviews

So happy to see and read this book by Helen Cooper, one of my most beloved illustrator/authors.   I have cherished and enjoyed her picture books (  http://helencooperbooks.co.uk/books/)  for years so was happy to read a copy of The Hippo at the End of the Hall.  The book is intended for ages 9-12  audience but with its delightful illustrations and magical story - it could easily appeal to a reader of any age. . The story involves a young boy, Ben, and his efforts to save a rather curious museum.   He is aided by magical creatures and an intriguing elderly woman who owns the museum. I enjoyed the plot and characters and felt rather bewitched by the entire story.  I hope Cooper continues to write and illustrate chapter books because this one was a charming experience!
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This book was ok but it never grabbed my attention.  I read it in bits every few days.  But I felt bored while reading it.  Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for a middle grade book.
ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book. I think third graders and other intermediate readers will find this story appealing, especially those that like curiosities and museums. Toss in a bit of magic and a couple of nefarious adults who want to buy the museum for their own purposes, then there is Ben who received a mysterious invitation to go to the museum and when he arrives he knows he has been there once before. 
#ARC #TheHippoAtTheEndOfTheHall #NetGalley
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The Hippo at the End of the Hall is a chapter fantasy book for middle readers by Helen Cooper. Released 8th Oct 2019 by Candlewick Press, it's 352 pages and available in hardcover, paperback, audio, and ebook formats.

This book charmed me from the very first page. The elements of a classic fantasy are skillfully interwoven: a museum full of magic which is threatened by evil property development and skullduggery, a likeable 'everykid' protagonist, some fairly clueless but well meaning adults, and magical bees plus a hippo. The story and illustrations remind me in a very good way of Roald Dahl. There's something special about books for younger readers whose authors are NOT afraid to shy away from crises in their stories. This book isn't all gentleness and sugary sweetness. The antagonists are creepy, sleazy, and straight up mean.

The illustrations are wonderful. The early eARC which I received had intentionally lowered resolution in order to maintain a reasonable transfer file size, but even slightly fuzzy, they were magical. I -loved- the illustrations and to me, they were probably the highlight. I really really enjoyed the afterword by the artist/author and I imagine the encouraging words, read by young artists, would be particularly timely and welcome.

It's a standalone, but the setup and denouement certainly wouldn't rule out more stories, and I hope there are more in store. This is a very special book, and I encourage anyone who likes fantasy, magic, art, or museums to read this one.

Five stars.
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Ben has lived alone with his mom ever since his father died when he was little. When an invitation to a mysterious, odd museum called The Gee Museum arrives addressed to him, it stirs up a vague memory of time spent with his father - and sets his mother on edge, although she won't say why. Ben goes to the old museum and meets a group of talking animals, all waiting for him. They tell him that the museum is in danger, and he's the only one who can save it - the proprietress is old and tired of keeping it going, and the people she's considering selling it to - a greedy landlord who's also trying to force Ben's mom out of business and their home, and a rival museum's director who plans to scavenge the most valuable pieces and junk the rest - don't have the Gee's best interests at heart. As Ben unravels the secrets of the Gee, and the mysterious hippo and his place among all the animals, he finds answers about his father and his family that will fill a missing piece he's lived with for too long.

The Hippo at the End of the Hall is an steadily building tale that blends the fantastic with a story of family and of memory. Ben and his mom are likable characters that stick together, even when one's annoyed at the other: kind of like real moms and kids, right? The animals have individual personalities that set them apart from one another and bring them right into the story, and the human characters have history that's never completely given away, yet feel fully formed and built up - Helen Cooper leaves us to wonder and imagine the wonderful adventures that took place before we joined the group. The black-and-white illustrations throughout add a vintage feel to the atmosphere, bringing the Gee Museum to life under your fingertips. Magical museums and magical creatures, two terrible baddies, and a family putting itself back together make this a book to booktalk to your Jumanji fans, your Night at the Museum fans (schedule a showing of the movies!), and your magical realism fans.
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Thanks to NetGally and Candlewick for a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.

Description
When Ben receives a mysterious invitation to an odd museum, he’s swept into a peculiar world of forgotten secrets and wild magic in this illustrated novel.

The invitation to the Gee Museum was delivered by bees. It wasn’t addressed to anyone, but Ben knows that it was meant for him. Why else would the images on the postcard have stirred up memories of his father, who was lost at sea long ago? Ben makes his way to the old dilapidated building to find a host of curious talking animals awaiting his arrival. They are certain he is the only one who can save the museum. But Ben and the animals in the Gee collection will have to outwit a devious rival museum owner and a greedy land developer. With a bit of luck, some strange magic, and a little help from his mom, Ben might succeed in ensuring the future of the museum — and finding the answers about his father that he’s been searching for his whole life. Helen Cooper’s first novel brims with mystery and hope, and her lovely illustrations bring the wonders of the Gee Museum to life.

Wow! This middle grade book held my interest from start to finish! A beautiful, magical world created inside a museum. Talking animals, a witch? The perfect place for Ben to learn some family history while he tries to save the museum. It's filled with whimsy and drew me in immediately. The illustrations were exquisite. I absolutely loved and enjoyed the pencil drawings.
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This was a cute story about a boy finding his place in life and a family rediscovering magic. I really did enjoy Ben’s story and the magic that it encompassed. There was a great history of the family and the museum that really helped the reader feel that they were a part of it. 
The writing throughout the novel was quite clear and very descriptive. The illustrations that accompanied the story were the perfect addition. There were some words that were way over the intended reading level, yet could easily be passed over without losing the meaning. There were a couple of times that I felt the story dragged a bit, but these were short and had ample action in between. 
This was a fun romp that I think young readers will devour quickly and even enjoy as a read along with parents.
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A strange invitation to the Gee Museum arrives at Ben's house. His mom is always busy with her shop, so he decides to go by himself. Turns out, the museum is a very magical place and some bad people are trying to destroy it. Ben knows that he has to do everything he can to save the museum and its magical exhibits.

This is such a magical story for middle grade kids! The Gee Museum seems like such a fantastical place! I wish it was real....I would definitely be first in line to have a tour!

The story is pure magic. The illustrations are awesome! This book would be great to read out loud at home or in a classroom/homeschool setting. It would be so easy to incorporate all sorts of lessons along with the story...writing prompts, a trip to a local museum, art projects....lots of possibilities!

Well-written. Colorful, vibrant front cover. Engaging illustrations. Very enjoyable book!!

This is the first book by Helen Cooper that I've read. I love to read children's books, so I'm sure I will be reading more of her work! She's written quite a few middle grade books. As I looked through her list, I definitely saw more than just a couple that I want to read!

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Candlewick Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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After receiving a mysterious invitation to an obscure museum, Ben finds himself in an enchanted place where the animal exhibits are magically alive. They help Ben unravel the mystery of his family connection to the museum, battle a witch who has been trapped in a bottle for a hundred years, and save the museum from greedy developers. The whimsical story of the first half leads to a frenzied, action-packed second half, but it is all enjoyable. The sometimes-strained but loving relationship between Ben and his mom gives the book a real-life grounding. After reading the book, kids will surely want to visit their local museum!
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The Hippo at the End of the Hall by Helen Cooper is a delightful romp into a magical museum. I really enjoyed following Ben as he discovered the eccentricities of the Gee Museum, and in the process, discovers his own history and sets the course for his future. 

I loved this book. It makes me want to discover a magical museum to have such a grand adventure of my own. The writing was wonderful and the story flowed along and I didn’t want to it to stop. I really cheered for the characters and each one was so fun to get to know. The villains were marvelous and created the perfect motivation to get the story off and running. I hope there will be more adventures at the Gee Museum. I highly recommend this book for kids and adults alike. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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The Hippo at the End of the Hall is a fun and adventurous tale of a mysterious museum, a family's loss, and a young boy who wants to connect with his long lost father.  
When Ben receives an invitation to the museum in town, his mother is hesitant to let him go.  Ben feels drawn to the museum but doesn't understand why.  Sneaking away from school, Ben finds himself at the museum overhearing property developers pressuring the elderly owner to sell the museum.  Even more startling, the extensive collection of taxidermy animals has come alive and is speaking to Ben!  With the animal's help, Ben must find a way to save the museum and discover the meaning behind the undeniable connection he feels to the museum and it's owner. 
It's a wonderfully written story full of adventure and magic.  I found it be highly enjoyable and felt it handled the more sensitive topics very well.  This would be a great read for children ages 8-12.  
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the opportunity to read and review this title.  All opinions are my own.
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I read this book with my 9 year old son and he really enjoyed it!

The Hippo at the End of the Hall is a middle grade novel that is one part "Night at the Museum" with a dash of whimsy and a lot of fun.   In this book, Ben lives with his single mom in an apartment in the same building as the small shop she runs.   They are frequently low on money and life is not great.  Then Ben receives a mysterious invitation (delivered by bees!!) to the Gee Museum.   Ben finds his way to the museum and his adventure begins.  It includes bad guys who are plotting to buy/ruin the museum, talking taxidermy animals, magic, family lore, and more.   

There were no dull moments in this book.  Yet, it wasn't over the top.  This is a magical book that makes you want to visit museums and discover their secrets.  Also, the author's sketches throughout the book were wonderful.  Highly recommend.
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Ahhhhh this book was so much fun to read. What an adventure! Great characters and a well thought out plot! Page Turner!
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*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Hippo at the End of the Hall is a highly entertaining middle grade book about a boy who discovers an enchanted museum and who is called upon to save it. I loved the fantasy and adventure elements woven throughout; it's the kind of thing where you're not sure if it's imagination or magic at the beginning, but it certainly becomes clear by the end that there is something truly magical going on.

There's a heavy focus on family, which I really enjoyed. Ben feels like he needs to take care of his mother and make sure she's happy and feels conflicted going against her wishes when he initially visits the museum. In the end, they come to understand more about each other, and I loved that there was a happy resolution with trust and communication.

The villains are incredible. They almost reminded me of Dahl villains for how utterly terrifying yet slightly cartoonish they were. Perfect villains for a middle grade book.

Overall, it's an engaging story full of lots of discoveries and some twists and turns. I really enjoyed it and think that children will absolutely love it. There are so many different great elements that they can latch onto: fantasy, adventure, family, danger, etc. I highly recommend it.
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I received an advance release copy via NetGalley.

This charming middle grade book is whimsical and wonderful, loaded with fantastic illustrations and warm messages about family and friendship. Young Ben receives an invitation to visit an obscure museum in his town and falls upon a plot to close the place--which is masterminded by the same fellow who is threatening his own home. Upon entering the museum, Ben is even more committed to saving it, as every room brims with magical talking creatures. Adults refuse to believe what Ben says about the threat, so it's up to him and his new friends to save the day.

Ben's relationship with his mom is one of the best parts of the book. They grow much closer, and a sense of mutual respect develops between them. Too many kid books (and TV shows) make the adults out to be the enemy. Here, it's handled with nuance. A good message, without being messagey.

Oh, this book left me desperate to find this museum for myself so that I can befriend a pygmy hippopotamus, owl, and elephant shrew, and maybe meet a witch or two! The illustrations add a lot to the joy of this book. You can't help but smile when you see a hippo smile. The whole ending left me smiling, too.
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I expect this book will become a much beloved read for many future oddity collectors. Wonderful introduction to small museum culture and taxidermy in a non-creepy way. 

I also really enjoyed the alternative family dynamics and relationships presented in this book.
Excited to recommend this to kids in the future.
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The Hippo at the End of the Hall is a great story for young readers. It has a little bit of everything: fun characters, mystery, magical shenanigans, heroic actions, and surprising twists and turns. The story moves at a good pace which should keep young readers engaged and the pictures add to that by bringing the story of life. I loved all the members of the Gee Museum, but I have to say the witch was my favorite. Ben is a great main character and his commitment to seeing the Gee Museum stay out of the hands of the bad guys even before he understood his connection to it was admirable. The bad guys are sneaky and underhanded without being too ridiculous. This seems to be written as a standalone, but the door is open for additional stories. I would love to re-enter this world to see what other hijinks the exhibits of the Gee Museum get up to.
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The illustrations were the best part of this book. The animals were lovely, and their emotion and expressions were great fun. The story was a bit more of a mess. The whole water cow mystery was not mysterious in the least and any child mildly interested in animals, which I assume most children who read this book will be, will have guessed it when the first story is introduced and it makes the boy seem a little oblivious. The ending was also a little too neat and while the adventure leading up to it was great, the last scene just seemed a little too easy and perfect, undermining much of the effort that went up to that part but that may be less of an issue for the younger readers.
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Absolutely fabulous book about taking chances and following your heart. It is so reminiscent of many great books that Cooper's book will become an instant classic like their picture books.
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4.5 stars out of 5. 

A delightful story of a young boy discovering more about his family history, spun together with whimsy and adventure. 

Highly recommend for fans of stories such as  Night At The Museum, Peter Pan or Jumanji. 

(Note - on page 294, Chapter 39, in the first sentence, the e is missing from surprise. I'm sure this will have been picked up before publication but just incase I thought I would mention it.)
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