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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Splendid and Extraordinary Life of Beautimus Potamus by Peggy A. Wheeler is a breath of fresh air that follows the adventures of a middle-aged hippo, Beautimus. Teaming up with her praying mantis friend, Samuel S. Goodwings, Beautimus finds herself in unexpected situations. When a murder occurs and a wand is stolen, Beautimus is brought into the mystery after she's accused of the theft. A war invades the land while Beautimus receives a new opportunity that will change her life. As her life is overrun with family members and a secret in her past is brought to light, a new romance surprises her. Along her journey, a range of characters enters her life in interesting ways.
The Splendid and Extraordinary Life of Beautimus Potamus is full of surprises with layered characters and a unique voice. The characters are from a range of animal types, even ones now extinct, but their personalities and voices are entirely human. They're flawed and vastly different from each other, with realistic aspirations and “human” qualities. Beautimus is a grounded character, driven and intelligent, with a good heart and a great destiny that she isn't quite prepared for. Beautimus has a series of adventures that blend together in one incredible journey. From a murder investigation to family drama to romance to a war, there's something different awaiting her around every corner.
There are several winks and jests directed at human nature, including the class that Beautimus teaches detailing the discovery of a species dubbed Hu Man. The humor is brilliant and always on point, with clever nods to the nature of different animals. This is noted in a marvelous scene where Samuel tells black widow males to stay out of relationships or they'll be eaten alive. Peggy A. Wheeler has created this unique world that completely pulls you in with social commentary, humor, magic, war, loss, friendship, and family. This is a 'can't miss' book that you won't want to put down!