I know as rhino is a book we have borrowed from our local library for our son and it is a huge hit in our house so I thought I would share it with you.
About the book and opinion
This book comes in both a paperback and board book various. The one we have borrowed is a board book. I would certainly recommend getting the board book version if you child is a toddler as it is more substantial.
It has a very generous 20 pages (ten double pages) and each double page contains a four-line verse of a poem.
Each double page is also delightfully and vibrantly illustrated with an animal and a child. The pictures of the child look a bit like a boy or a girl, which means that both sexes can relate to the child pictured in my opinion.
The first page sets the tone for the book with the words
"I know a Rhino
We like to take tea.
I have two sugars
And Rhino has three."
The picture has the colossal horned beast daintily pouring tea out a pot with his legs crossed and the tiny stool collapsing beneath his weight.
The next page moves on to a pig with the child tightly holding on to the pigs tail as it pulls it through the dirt. The look on the child's face is one that I am sure all parents recognize as a child smiling wildly with delight whilst covered in mud.
The story then takes us on a whirl wind tour of exotic animals and fun from dancing with apes, to spinning round and round with a hippo.
My son loves the dragon that is being nursed when poorly in bed. This mythical creature is curled up in bed being nursed by the child. The sorrowful look on the dragons face is superb. The illustrator has captured perfectly the look of misery some one can get when unwell.
His other favorite is the leopard in top hat and tails. The child in this picture looks more female in a ballerina costume but he still relates to the story and pictures well.
Other animals include a bathing giraffe blowing bubbles and a bear on a picnic eating brown bread and honey.
The book ends over two double pages with the child and the animals going up the stairs to bed
"These are my friends
I know them, you see,
I know them quite well....."
Ending with everyone curled up in bed over the last pages and the words
"...... because they live with me!"
I think this ending and realization that all the animals are the child's toys is pure genius as it not only encourages your child to read a book but to engage with their toys in imaginative play. Since reading this book my son has got more into having tea parties with his teddy bears. It has also helped him learn some of the names of animals and whilst I can't claim a child genius at 21 months he can now certainly say bear recognize and point to different animals and know some of the sounds they would make.
The text is told in first person and printed in a thick black ink that really stands out against the bright pages. Each double spread page is devoted to one animal which gives the child different emotions ranging from fun to helpful.
The artwork accurately portrays the size difference between the child and each animal; he even makes you turn the book vertically to show the height of the giraffe.
When we are reading this book together both my husband and myself give the animals a different voice which adds to the amusement this story brings for my son.
With there only being a short verse on each page it is able to hold my sons attention superbly allowing him to read and get pleasure from the whole book. Rather than having too much text and missing some of the story in his eagerness to see new pictures and animals
Board book: 10 pages
Publisher: Gullane Children's Books; New edition (8 April 2008)
Available currently from Amazon for the bargain price of £2.79
A wonderful book for toddlers that not only captures their imagination but encourages it to develop further with imaginative play with their toys. I would definitely recommend this book.