Harvey, the hippo, lived in the zoo.
His family and friends lived there, too.

Buy now at: Amazon.com  |  Barnes and Noble  |  L.H. Press

Bookstores please use INGRAM iPage to order

Harvey the Hippo lives in a zoo. One day, as he’s doing what he always does playing in his pond, Mickey the Mandarin (duck) loses their flock and lands in Harvey’s pond. They introduce themselves, telling a little bit about themselves and giving their preferred pronouns. Harvey then introduces Mickey to a few other zoo friends, who do the same. They discover that although they may use different pronouns they all like to play the same things. They’ve made new friends, Mickey finds their flock and flies away.

Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin is a lovely book for young children and serves as a gentle introduction to gender identification. Using animal characters, it describes how some individuals identify as male, some female and some who feel they do not fit either descriptor. The use of ‘he/him, ‘ ‘she/her’ and ‘they/them’ vocabulary provides the young child with real-world terminology. The book stops there and does not delve into more advanced concepts of sexuality, allowing even the most reluctant parent to become comfortable with introducing these evolving societal norms to their child. It is a fine book for teaching children that everyone–same or different–is wonderful as they are and may become your friend.”

Laurie Zelinger, Psychologist and Author

“If you want to read a book that will help kiddos feel seen, included and celebrated, you will find this story of friendship and community wonderful. Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin is heartwarming, as it uses fun and welcoming language that invites all genders to feel a sense of belonging, even if there are differences.”

Anna Kiesnowski, Psychotherapist

Harvey the Hippo Meets Mickey Mandarin is a timely and much-needed addition to the body of literature for young children. The tale delivers the message of love and the understanding of differences in a tender yet thoroughly unambiguous way. The illustrations are not only beautifully rendered, but also serve to amplify the rhyme. They are gentle and, at the same time, strong and vibrant, serving to engage a child and caregiver in conversation about the characters and the words.”

Toni Seidl, Child Psychotherapist
As all hippos do, Harvey liked to eat a lot of food. But, unlike other hippos, Harvey liked to eat all kinds of food, especially treats and he liked to eat a lot of them. In fact, he ate so many treats that he floated up to the sky and around the world. He got to see many interesting sights but after a week of fun travel and not eating a thing, he got so thin he floated right back into his zoo where his family and friends, and a mound of lettuce, were waiting for him.

“Harvey The Hippo brings new delight to the body of read-aloud literature for young children. The rhythm of the poem is sure to engage the ear of many a three to six year old, and the vibrant tint illustrations are pure confection to the eye. Thank you Harvey for nourishing the inner life of the young child!”

Toni Seidl, Child Psychotherapist

“What a delightful story! As a practicing pediatrician, I am often on the hunt for book recommendations for friends, family, and patients with positive messaging. Harvey the Hippo, not only takes us on a scenic journey around the world but also teaches lessons about good food choices in a humorous way. I highly endorse this engaging and whimsically illustrated children’s book!”

Kai Ouye, Pediatrician

“As a pediatrician, I see the effects of unhealthy food choices on children everyday. Harvey the Hippo is a fun, beautifully illustrated story that opens the door for families to discuss with young children how food choices affect their bodies.”

Jamie Pinto, Pediatrician

“Hip Hippo Hooray for Abby Pete’s delightful and whimsical tale inspiring young children to make good food choices! Brought to life by the colorful, quirky character, Harvey The Hippo, imaginatively illustrated by Leslie Pontz, this wonderful book will be a good choice for parents and grands!”

Connie Katz, Nana to 5, all with a sweet tooth

“Our family read Harvey the Hippo, a Tale of Good Food Choices. Our daughters loved the rhyming words, illustrations, and lessons learned about eating well. It was fun to join Harvey on his trip around the world. We were able to discuss geography, different cultures, and foods. This book will serve as a touchstone for our family to remind all of us to eat well and only enjoy treats in moderation.”

Martha and Paul Sharkey, Founders, Today Is A Good Day

“As an Early Childhood Educator for 25 years I am delighted to recommend this book. It has a sweetness that will resonate with young children and its illustrations are delightful. Its message is relevant and important in this day and age for both children and the adults in their lives.”

Marcy K. Bacine

Press:  Chestnut Hill Local, June 2023

Chestnut Hill Local, May 2021

About the Author

In a time long ago, Abby Pete retired from teaching English and started a family and a catering/takeout food business in central Pennsylvania. Years passed and she moved to Philadelphia, bringing her family, but not her business, with her. There she decided to pursue another of her interests, animals, and became a docent at the Philadelphia Zoo, where she can happily talk about hippos as well as the other animals in the collection. She has never actually seen a hippopotamus fly. She has four grandchildren, two of whom eat well and two do not.

Contact Abby

About the Illustrator

Leslie Pontz is a fiber sculptor with a masters degree in Fine Arts from Syracuse University where she did her thesis on children’s art, and was the recipient of two grants from the National Endowment for the Arts through the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts as an Artist-in-residence. Leslie has shown internationally in invitational and juried exhibits in France, Brazil, Ireland, and Venezuela as well as throughout the U.S. She is the recipient of several awards for her work, which is featured in many private and public collections including but not limited to the Kamm, Best Western, Chestnut Hill Hotel and Philadelphia Museum of Art collections. Leslie lives with her husband Curt in Philadelphia, PA. Their five grown children have given them eight grandchildren.

Contact Leslie