"Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich" by Shel Silverstein

Yet another Shel Silverstein poem from my huge Where the Sidewalk Ends kick! Here's "Recipe for a Hippopotamus Sandwich." It's on page 115. This is a fun story to tell with a hippo puppet (mine told me his name is Humphrey) and prop ingredients.

It goes something like this:
"A hippo sandwich is easy to make. All you do is simply take [list of ingredients]. ...And now comes the problem... Biting into it!"

The ingredients in the original version are things like bread, cake, mayonnaise, onion rings, hippo (obviously), etc. I encourage you to use whatever is handy. The sillier the better. I have an extremely high-brow sense of humor, so I threw in a pair of little mermaid underpants. I never met Mr. Silverstein, but I feel that he would have approved.

You can either hand out a bunch of ingredients in advance to the kids or you can tell the whole story yourself. The first way is much more interactive, but it's up to you if you want to go that direction.

For those of you who work in schools, I think a fun poetry writing exercise would be to have kids write and illustrate their own version of this poem. I'd love to see recipes for penguin, cheetah, narwhal, etc. sandwiches. YUM YUM.


  1. Oh My Goodness! This is so funny!

  2. Laughing! Laughing! I want to come to your story time!! ~ jane


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