Can’t get enough of Fiona the baby hippo? Well, neither can we — and the good news is there’s more cuteness on the way courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, PEOPLE is happy to exclusively report.
The publisher just announced it will be releasing a new book about the beloved baby hippopotamus, Saving Fiona: Science, Social Media, and the Story of a Baby Hippo, on February 5, 2019. The story, written by Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens director Thane Maynard,recounts the incredible survival and triumphant growth of the premature hippo who captured the hearts of humans across the globe.
Born on Jan. 24, 2017, Fiona arrived two months early and weighed only 29 pounds, half the weight of a normal baby hippo. The book covers Fiona’s surprise birth, the zoo staff’s efforts to save her, the amazing milestones she hit along the way, as well as her recent reunion with her mom and dad. Highlights within the pages include behind-the-scenes photos and exclusive interviews with the zookeepers about Fiona, to give young readers an intimate look at the inner workings of a zoo and the bonds between its animals and caregivers.
Though Saving Fiona is geared towards readers in grades 4 – 7, the young hippo’s saga has reached up to 50 million viewers through the zoo’s videos and social media accounts. Facebook posts and the hashtag #TeamFiona have also inspired people to send in donations from around the world, which have helped the Cincinnati zoo staff provide 24-hour-a-day care for the heartwarming little hippo.
“We’re delighted to bring readers behind the scenes at the Cincinnati Zoo where Thane Maynard’s hardworking team dedicated itself to saving the world’s favorite baby hippo,” says Catherine Onder, SVP and Publisher, HMH. “Readers will enjoy an inside look at this one-of-a-kind story that features cutting-edge science, community support, and unexpected social media fame.”
Hip, hip, hooray for Fiona! Could a HBO (Hippo Box Office, ahem) series be far behind?