Simon Can’t Say Hippopotamus
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“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