...I want a hippopotamus for Christmas. Words and music by John Rox ; illustrated by Bruce Whatley.
This book is based in a song originally sung by Gayla Peevey. Ms. Peevey was a regional child star of the Oklahoma City area. When released nationally by Columbia Records, the song shot to the top of the charts and the city zoo acquired a baby hippo named Matilda.
A popular legend holds that this 1953 hit had been recorded as a fund-raiser to bring the city zoo a hippo; but in a 2007 radio interview with Detroit-based WNIC radio station, Peevey clarified that the song was not originally recorded as a fundraiser. Instead, a local promoter picked up on the popularity of the song and Peevey's local roots, and launched a campaign to present her with an actual hippopotamus on Christmas.
The campaign succeeded, and she was presented with an actual hippopotamus, which she donated to the city zoo. The hippopotamus lived for nearly 50 years.
Gayla Peevey later recorded as Jamie Horton, scoring the Billboard Hot 100 charter "My Little Marine" in 1960.
Information for this post was found on Wikipedia and Mistle Tunes.