Simon Can’t Say Hippopotamus

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Simon can swim. I can’t even float.
Simon can fish and row a boat.
Simon can sing. I can’t even hum.
But he can’t say HIPPOPOTAMUS, so people make fun.
He can do lots of things—Simon is smart!
With a box and two wheels he can make a cart.
With a box and four wheels he can make a bus.
But he just can’t say HIPPOPOTAMUS.
He’s only a boy and not a grown man.
He’ll say it some day—whenever he can.
He can count to a hundred, make his own bed,
Tie his own shoes, and stand on his head.
He can whistle and yodel and play a bassoon.
He can tap-dance and tumble and make up a tune.
So why do people make such a fuss
Because he can’t say HIPPOPOTAMUS?
Once Simon and I went to visit the zoo.
We saw a baboon and a gray kangaroo.
Now Simon knew every animal there.
I didn’t know them, but I didn’t care.
He said, “Here’s an aardvark—they’re very rare.
And that is a platypus, right over there.
This small armadillo has a shell very strong.”
Then he said HIPPOPOTAMUS—but it came out all wrong.
It didn’t matter. I didn’t mind.
I wouldn’t laugh. That wouldn’t be kind.
Simon’s my friend, and I wouldn’t fuss
Because he can’t say HIPPOPOTAMUS.
He can make a fire,
Roll a tire,
Bake a pie,
Tie a tie,
Train a dog,
Call a hog,
Paint a house,
Catch a mouse,
Saw a board,
Make a sword.
But he just can’t say that GREAT BIG WORD!
He’ll say it some day. Just give him time.
I know he will do it. He’ll do it just fine.
So let others grumble and mumble and sigh.
Simon can’t say HIPPOPOTAMUS—and neither can I!

[illustrations] Illustrated by Dick Brown