Simon Can’t Say Hippopotamus

    “Simon Can’t Say Hippopotamus,” Friend, May 1983, 8–9

    Simon Can’t Say Hippopotamus

    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!

    Illustrated by Dick Brown