This meme was started by Rae Longest at Powerful Women Readers. As I am a grandmother, who loves to read to her grandchildren, a mother who loved to read to and with her children, and a retired teacher librarian, this meme really attracted me.

My grandkids have been enjoying books about Fiona the hippo and I was happy when I discovered that Zonderkidz have published several I Can Read books featuring Fiona and her friends. The stories are cute and my oldest grandchild can read them to the younger two, even though I love to read them to them as well. They were provided to me from the publishers upon request, through Netgalley. I have included their comments, reactions and interactions where appropriate. All ratings and opinions are our own. After reading these two, we discovered more available at our library and they definitely want to read them as well. (Fiona Saves the Day, Fiona and the Rainy Day, & Meet Fiona the Hippo).

Fiona Goes to School: Level 1 (I Can Read! / A Fiona the Hippo Book) by Zondervan, Richard Cowdrey (Illustrator), Donald Wu (Illustrator)

Published May 3rd 2022 by Zonderkidz (Zondervan)

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fiona and her friends at the zoo have been watching children visit the zoo regularly. Fiona asks her mother about school, and she and her young friends decide they would like to go to school as well. They start “Zoo School”. When Mr. Elephant, their teacher, begins teaching about elephants, the students want to learn about other things. They start speaking out, sharing what they thing they should do and it becomes loud and chaotic. Mr. Owl intervenes and decides that the young students need to learn about proper school behaviour. He tells them how important it is to listen, raise your hand, take turns, respect others by letting them talk and share etc. The next day, things still don’t turn out the way they hoped, until Fiona has a great idea. Everyone enjoys the new “zoo school”. I liked the message about being a good student, especially being respectful to one another. My granddaughter (6 YO) was quite appalled at their behaviour and was able to tell me what Mme. would have done if she had acted that way. 😂The illustrations are wonderful. They are realistic for anthropomorphised animals. Their expressions show emotion, and my grandkids enjoyed seeing what the animals were up to on each page. The short sentences, with easy concepts and repeated words make this an easy book for beginning readers.

Fiona’s Train Ride: Level 1 (I Can Read! / A Fiona the Hippo Book) by Zondervan, Richard Cowdrey (Illustrator), Donald Wu (Illustrator)

Published May 3rd 2022 by Zonderkidz (Zondervan)

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fiona has heard the news that a baby red panda has been born and she wants to go and see it. She asks several of her friends if they want to visit with her, but it is so far for them to go. Fiona has an idea, they will take the train. At night, when everyone is gone, they head to the train station and board the train. Fiona drives the train and off they go. They quietly visit the Red Panda’s environment and see the baby, who looks exactly like its mother. They don’t wake the sleeping baby, but head back to the train and to their beds, all feeling very tired. Messages include helping each other, trying new things and being respectful of others. A sweet story that I read to my grandchildren, then my oldest read it to his two younger siblings. They love all the pictures of the animals and the zoo and laughed at some of the situations Fiona gets herself in. I like the I Can Read books as they allow my grandson to build confidence in his reading ability and also have a fun story that keeps their interest.