“Every time I’d get home from the studio, my wife would tell me how Fiona was doing,” he told TODAY. “It was just such a compelling story with her being premature and barely making it through.”Cowdrey, 60, thought Fiona’s journey would also make a compelling children’s book. Everything came together quickly: he sent a few preliminary illustrations to the Cincinnati Zoo to gauge interest, found a publisher in Zonderkids, and last year, “Fiona the Hippo” became a bestseller.Now she’s the star of the picture book “A Very Fiona Christmas,” which imagines Fiona’s first Christmas at the zoo. When she befriends the zoo’s newest resident, a timid little koala named Chloe, she realizes that Christmas is all about love.
Why do they do that? When dogs kick after going to the bathroom, they are using the scent glands on their paws to further mark their territory.
Cowdrey relished creating images of Fiona sledding with penguins and a giraffe kissing the hippo’s cheek while under mistletoe. In the book, Fiona wiggles her ears and snorts when she gets excited, just like in real life.
He worked diligently to try to capture the sweetness of the hippo’s personality in her expressions, with careful attention to the eyes, which he framed with long lashes. His affection for Fiona shines through in the illustrations.
Because your pet deserves a treat (Picture: Cheshire & Wain/Rachel Oates)Not sure what to get your furry friend this year?The Merchant’s Tail in Hackney was launched by pet labels Cheshire & Wain and Fetch & Follow, and will feature both festive experiences and shopping opportunities for animal lovers.
“Fiona is almost like a dog. Having been raised by people, she just lights up when you get near her,” he said. “I get to pet her on the head. She just loves to be around people. She’s a sweetie.”In the spirit of the season, a portion of the proceeds from “A Very Fiona Christmas” will support the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden, the second oldest zoo in the nation. Its doors opened in 1875.“That’s important to me as a proud Cincinnati boy,” he said. “This is the zoo of my youth and I do believe in conservation.”
Most animals are creatures of habit. It will be important to develop a consistent schedule to follow with your new pet. Potty breaks at regular intervals, feeding at the same time(s) every day, playtime, walks – everything needs to be scheduled. At first, this can seem overwhelming but soon enough, you and your new pet will be on the same schedule.
Meeting Fiona’s fans at signings around the country fills him with “hippo pride” for Fiona and the zoo that saved her.
“I think I take more pride in that than in myself or my drawings,” he said. “It is a very special place for me.”Follow Fiona or watch past episodes of The Fiona Show on the Cincinnati Zoo's Facebook page.