Polar bears live where it's cold
Lions like it hot!
Tigers can run very fast
And hippos can not
If you have a child around the age of one, you can almost certainly sing along. This is quite a popular toy from Fisher-Price, which specializes in adorable toys that belt out annoying songs. I once wanted to buy their tiger-and-cub toy for our baby daughter (>go Tigers!), until I touched the darn thing and set it to singing. Two-and-a-half seconds was all it took to convince me that I really didn't want that in my house.
Our daughter got the train for Christmas. Turned off, it's rather cute. Turned on, and you have to endure very loud and insipid songs when the right buttons are pressed. The main song invites us to hop on board the animal train, because learning about an-i-MALS (yes, emphasis on the last syllable - the Fisher-Price demons have truly thought of everything) is "really lots of fun!!" Or so they say. The half-shouting, half-pleading tone of that line makes it sound like they're trying to convince themselves as much as they're trying to convince our children.
So what sort of fun learning do we get from the toy? Another song tells us that polar bears live where it's cold, check. Lions like it hot... well, it's hard to say whether they truly like it or if they just endure it, but okay. Tigers can run fast, no question. What about hippos (or hip-POS, as the song goes)?
A side note: songs for children do get lots of lyrical leeway here; I know they shouldn't be judged in the same way that a normal pop song can be.
And yet, this is a toy that purports to be somewhat educational. It should not be getting basic facts wrong. Especially when said wrong information can get our daughter killed! If you happen to find yourself amongst a herd of hippopotamuses one day, don't let your memories of this song (if you have the toy, it will be burned into your brain) lull you into a false sense of security. Despite what the song would have us believe, hippos can run really fast! Not as fast as tigers, but certainly faster than you. And they'll take full advantage of that speed; by many accounts they're the most dangerous animal in the world.
Fisher-Price should not be so cavalier with our children's safety. Here's hoping for a massive product recall (please?)