Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo, by Thane Maynard, Director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo by Thane Maynard
Review Copy from HMH Books
Fiona is a social media star. She has her own show, which you can see on Facebook. She, or should I say WE, had the good fortune for her to be born during a time when we can all experience her amazing entry into the world and struggle to survive. But, you don't need a screen to learn all about her. You just need Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo, written by the director of the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, where she was born. Having the privilege of living close to the San Diego Zoo, and having a son who was obsessed with hippos when he was little, I have spent a lot of time at a hippo enclosure very similar to the one seen here, watching these enormous creatures glide gracefully through the water.
Fiona has had a lot of firsts. She was the first premature hippopotamus to be raised by humans. And, before she was born, she was the first ever Nile hippopotamus to be viewed in utero with an ultrasound! Fiona's parents, Bibi and Henry, were the first hippos at the zoo in 20 years and a special space with lots of water was created for them in the new African animal habitat built at the zoo. Fiona was born, two months early, on January 24, 2017.

Lots of pictures and chunks of text on every page detail the challenges and questions Fiona raised. In another first, a scientist hand-milked Bibi after the biggest breast pump on the market failed to get much needed food, nutrients and important antibodies for Fiona. Seeing this adorable, funny baby hippo grow and thrive across the pages of this book is bucket-filling experience. What is possibly even more amazing is seeing the many scientists, veterinarians, veterinary technicians, caregivers, nutritionists, team of VAT (vascular access team) nurses from Cincinnati Children's Hospital and zoo staff that worked around the clock to keep Fiona alive and help her to thrive.
If Fiona even remotely catches your attention, I strongly suggest you check out the Baby Hippo Fiona series of videos on YouTube, each of which is around fifteen minutes long. Made by the zoo, they are very educational and interesting. And SO CRAZY ADORABLE!!!!

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