Hiccups trigger book for children
By Gail Slaughter

It started when Aaron Zenz had the hiccups.  As he tried various remedies for getting rid of them, his mind began playing with words.

"There was a hippopotamus who hiccupped quite-a-lotamus.
And every time he got'emus, he'd fall upon his bottomus."

It was a silly rhyme but catchy, and it remained in Zenz's brain long after his hiccups had subsided.  The following year, when his illustration class at Hillsdale College was assigned to write a children's book, Zenz used the verse to create the tale of "The Hiccupotamus."

Eight years and several drafts later, it evolved into the first published children's book for the Jackson native.

To summarize the story, a hippo's hiccups wreak havoc on his animal friends – and on the words describing them.  The rhinoceros tangles his dental floss-erus.  Things don't go well-ephant for the elephant.  You get the idea, and so will the kids.

Zenz will be at the Nomad Bookstore, 229 S. Mechanic St., from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday, signing copies of "The Hiccupotamus."

Zenz graduated from Jackson Baptist High School and Hillsdale College.  He works as a freelance illustrator and lives in Spring Lake with his wife Amity and their four children.

"The Hiccupotamus" is available from Dogs in Hats Children's Publishing, www.dogsinhats.com, and from local or online booksellers.