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I Am Not a Copycat!    by Ann Bonwill & Simon Rickerty order for
I Am Not a Copycat!
by Ann Bonwill
Order:  USA  Can
Atheneum, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

Here's another animal odd couple that is very reminiscent of other famous pairs such as Piggy and Elephant. Hugo the hippo and Bella the bird are friends, but in this tale poor Hugo becomes a little frustrated because Bella copies everything he does.

'I'm one of a kind. I am unique,' Hugo exclaims, but Bella is determined to prove him wrong. Hugo is practicing for his very special water ballet but Bella mimics every move. Then the pair heads off for the pool where Bella performs every move in the pool as her friend does. Now Hugo is really upset and he calls Bella a copycat and tells her she is ruining his water ballet.

Things are getting a little testy until the pair is complimented by onlookers for their synchronized swim routine. Well, that shines a completely different light on the situation!

'See, Hugo, I wasn't ruining your ballet. I was making it better!' Bella tells Hugo. With happy smiles on their faces, the pair goes off to celebrate by having some ice cream. Of course, Bella orders the same dish as Hugo does. But, just to be different, she requests an additional scoop of chocolate chip. Why? 'Just to be unique!'

If it is really true that copying someone is the highest form of flattery, then this cute story underscores the depth of the bond between this large hippo and little bird. On the other hand, perhaps Bella knows exactly how to get under her buddy's thick skin. I'll let you be the judge of which of these two ideas may be at play in this picture book!

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