A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp – Book #Review

A Different Kind of Safari by Helen Hipp

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 โ€œdifferent and lonelyโ€ 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!

A Different Kind of SafariA Different Kind of Safari by Helen C Hipp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a picture book story about Ray and Rosie. Ray is a young boy from Vermont who’s visiting Africa with his family; Rosie is a different kind of hippo. She’s pink instead of gray! Ray asks her if it bothers her that she’s different, and her response is one that I would hope all young readers take to heart: at first it did, but not anymore. Ray is different too โ€“ it’s difficult for him to talk to other people. He’s more comfortable alone, but he wishes he were more like the other kids.

Rosie takes Ray on a trip down the river, and along the way Ray meets a crocodile who also defies his expectations, and hears the story of Eli-zee, a different kind of horse who discovers there are very important strengths to her differences.

Ray “wakes up” under an umbrella tree, and realizes that his “dream” was a different kind of safari (safari is the Swahili word for “long journey,” Ray’s Grandpa explains). By the end of the story Ray has started to understand that you can feel happy about being different, and shares his thoughts with his Grandpa.

I think this is a great story for kids at an early-to-mid elementary level. Many kids have something that makes them feel different, in particular kids on the autism spectrum. I have two children on the spectrum, and they’ve always struggled to fit in with their peers. The older of my two in particular badly WANTS to fit in and be accepted, but recognizes that he’s “different” from other kids his age. A story like that can help children like my son understand that it’s okay to be different โ€“ and sometimes (oftentimes) it’s even BETTER to have your own unique differences!

I received a complimentary ecopy of this book for review purposes; all opinions are my own.

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7 thoughts on “A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp – Book #Review

  1. This book would be great for my nephew Jonathon, who has Asberger’s Syndrome, 22 and a very tall boy. He’s very intelligent, keeping A’s and B’s throughout high school. He’s a sweetheart but does have trouble mainly with not winning at games. He knows he’s different and has trouble sometimes with memory. He sometimes cries about bein different and asks why kids his age don’t like him. He lost his mommy, my baby sister, one year ago Thanksgiving. Thank you for the review.

    • That makes my heart hurt. ๐Ÿ™ My 14-year-old son is on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum, and he struggles with acceptance too. He’s embraced the label of autism as something that makes him special and unique, but he still wants the other kids to like him. Or at least be nice to him. I can’t imagine a kid having to cope with that struggle and then to lose his mom too.

      • Thank you! Prayers for your son! Hope he does better than our precious Jnathon. He is such a sweet boy and oh, how he loves Didney Land. He thinks of it daily, all day long and has a collection of Disney items. Me and his mom took him there back in 2005. Then, in 2013, my sister Jill had purchased tickets for his 21st birthday which was coming up on Dec. 3rd. She had not gotten the chance to give them to him because of passing away. She knew she wasn’t going to be well enough to take him so another sister was going who couldn’t afford it and she had planned of course, to pay her way too. So, he got to go there again soon after her passing. But, still wantd to go back right after he returned. I enter so many contests since I am now divorced and don’t feel well with chronic pain and I hope to one day win one not only to take him but my 6 & 8 year old grandsons. What really breaks my heart is that my sister and Jonathon’s dad split when Jonathon was around 3. His dad visited rarely for a few short years, stopped his child support, and cut off all ties with him around age 9.Talk about breaking Jonathon and everyone’s hearts. He cried often and when he’d talk to me, he would ofteen ask why nobody liked him, including his own dad. His mom remarried when Jonathon was about age 8 to a young man of about 10 years from India. he promised my sister he would take care of Jonathon. I was and still am worried about him but he does seem to be doing okay. I live about a 3 hour drive from him but he does have other family close to where he lives. Anyway, he does live in a nice home and I am thankful his stepdad stepped up to be a real Dad! His stepdad and my sister were married about 14 years and through his sickness and pain, he was there 100%. Although Jiill was only 46, before she passed she knew her son and spouse loved her more than anyone as well as being loved b the rest of her family. I didn’t mean to write so much but wanted to share my story. Prayers for you and your son!! xoxoxo too!

        • There are definitely some similarities in your nephew’s story to my son’s story! (Although my son is a Minecraft kid rather than a Disney kid, but we too hope to take all four of our boys to Disney World someday). My ex-husband has been uninvolved in my children’s lives since 2007, but I remarried a couple of years ago and my husband is a great dad to all the children. I know that if something ever happened to me, my kids have someone who loves them and will take care of them. Prayers to your family as well!

        • That’s great! I’m glad you have a new huby that not only cares for you but your children as well! May God Bless all of you and especially your son! Prayers!

  2. Pingback: Book Review Blitz Wrap-Up: A Different Kind of Safari by Helen C. Hipp | Mother Daughter Book Reviews

  3. This book sounds wonderful! This would be great for my son, who is on the Autism Spectrum….I was thinking that even before I got to that part of your review where you mentioned it would be good for kids on the spectrum. My son realizes he is different than the other kids, and desperately wants to fit in too. ~ Carrie Demas

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